Mapping Yorb Networks: Power and Agency in the Making of Transnational Communities

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Duke University Press, Jul 12, 2004 - Social Science - 345 pages
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DIVThree flags fly in the palace courtyard of ytnj African Village. One represents black American emancipation from slavery, one black nationalism, and the third the establishment of an ancient Yorb Empire in the state of South Carolina. Located sixty-five miles southwest of Charleston, ytnj is a Yorb revivalist community founded in 1970. Mapping Yorb Networks is an innovative ethnography of ytnj and a theoretically sophisticated exploration of how Yorb rs voodoo religious practices are reworked as expressions of transnational racial politics. Drawing on several years of multisited fieldwork in the United States and Nigeria, Kamari Maxine Clarke describes ytnj in vivid detailthe physical space, government, rituals, language, and marriage and kinship practicesand explores how ideas of what constitutes the Yorb past are constructed. She highlights the connections between contemporary Yorb transatlantic religious networks and the post-1970s institutionalization of roots heritage in American social life.

Examining how the development of a deterritorialized network of black cultural nationalists became aligned with a lucrative late-twentieth-century roots heritage market, Clarke explores the dynamics of ytnj Villages religious and tourist economy. She discusses how the community generates income through the sale of prophetic divinatory consultations, African market souvenirssuch as cloth, books, candles, and carvingsand fees for community-based tours and dining services. Clarke accompanied ytnj villagers to Nigeria, and she describes how these heritage travelers often returned home feeling that despite the separation of their ancestors from Africa as a result of transatlantic slavery, theymore than the Nigerian Yorbare the true claimants to the ancestral history of the Great y Empire of the Yorb people. Mapping Yorb Networks is a unique look at the political economy of homeland identification and the transnational construction and legitimization of ideas such as authenticity, ancestry, blackness, and tradition./div

  

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Contents

IV
1
V
51
VI
107
VII
157
VIII
201
IX
231
X
257
XI
279
XII
289
XIII
295
XIV
317
XV
323
XVI
341
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About the author (2004)

DIV

Kamari Maxine Clarke is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Yale University.

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