Oshun's Daughters: The Search for Womanhood in the Americas

SUNY Press
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Examines the ways in which the inclusion of African
diasporic religious practices serves as a transgressive tool in narrative
discourses in the Americas.

Oshun’s Daughters examines
representations of African diasporic religions from novels and poems written by
women in the United States, the Spanish Caribbean, and Brazil. In spite of
differences in age, language, and nationality, these women writers all turn to
variations of traditional Yoruba religion (Santería/Regla de Ocha and
Candomblé) as a source of inspiration for creating portraits of
womanhood. Within these religious systems, binaries that dominate European
thought—man/woman, mind/body, light/dark, good/evil—do not function in the same
way, as the emphasis is not on extremes but on balancing or reconciling these
radical differences. Involvement with these African diasporic religions thus
provides alternative models of womanhood that differ substantially from those
found in dominant Western patriarchal culture, namely, that of virgin, asexual
wife/mother, and whore. Instead we find images of the sexual woman, who enjoys
her body without any sense of shame; the mother, who nurtures her children
without sacrificing herself; and the warrior woman, who actively resists demands
that she conform to one-dimensional stereotypes of womanhood.
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About the author

Vanessa K. Valdés is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at City College, the City University of New York. She is the editor of Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora, also published by SUNY Press,and The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies.
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Additional Information

SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2014
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History / Africa / General
Literary Criticism / American / African American
Literary Criticism / American / Hispanic American
Literary Criticism / Caribbean & Latin American
Literary Criticism / Subjects & Themes / Women
Literary Criticism / Women Authors
Religion / Ethnic & Tribal
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Black Studies (Global)
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Eligible for Family Library

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