Accepted Paper:

Sorcery and culture: forms of appropriation in African-American religions  
Roger Sansi (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I propose that there are two different patterns of 'internationalisation' of Afro-American religions: one based on 'sorcery', one based on 'culture'. I will discuss how the transition from sorcery to culture may have also produced fundamental changes in their practices and values.

Paper long abstract:

Sorcery and Culture: Forms of Appropriation in African-American religions

African-American religions are "international" by definition. But their diffusion, the forms of "appropriating the other", have substantially changed. Its current expansion throughout Europe and North America takes a consistently different pattern to the period of their formation throughout the Americas. Arguably, these religions were received in colonial societies as forms of "sorcery". This was one of the grounds for their repression, but also their main attractive for non- Africans, who became engaged in their ritual techniques for practical reasons. On the other hand, their current expansion responds to different causes: people join these religions following "spiritual" or "cultural" motivations. In this paper, I will propose that these different patterns of "internationalization", from "Sorcery" to "Culture", may have also produced fundamental changes in their practices and values.

Panel W075
The internationalisation of African-American religions