4_5_05_460j_rev - 21A.460 April 5, 2005 Guest Lecturer:...

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21A.460 April 5, 2005 Guest Lecturer: Kathleen O’Connor Presentation on research and dissertation done in Bahia, Brazil -- O Outro Lado: Candomblé, Psychiatry, and Discourse in Bahia, Brazil Candomblé and Psychiatric Practices in Bahia, Brazil Candomblé is a set of traditional religious beliefs and practices that often deal with transaltered states – not trances as traditionally understood, but rather in altered states of being. Using a Freudian label, practices in Candomblé often produce altered states of consciousness, hysteria, and periods of self-hypnosis – 3 specific phenomena within the commonly understood category of ‘trance’ experiences Strong connection and interrelationship between the practice of Candomblé and biomedical psychiatric practices. Oftentimes both will be used to treat mental disorders. Candomblé and psychiatry perceived to be strongly interconnected to practioners. In usage, people often use discourse on sending patients “to the other side” ( o outro lado in Portuguese) to refer to sending patients to psychiatric care Background Brazil was a slave country – economy mainly driven by sugar exportation Slaves used in Brazil came from many different countries in Africa, predominantly from East African countries like the Congo, Benin, and Angola o These different African populations brought with them unique sets of traditional beliefs that eventually became foundation for the Candomblé tradition. Many beliefs and practices in Brazilian Candomblé transplanted from Congolese beliefs o In Brazil, Yoruba became the ritual language used for Candomblé, in later years usage of Yoruba became a marker for elite status within black community – was a symbol of cultural cohesiveness o Last wave of African captives was between 1830s-1888 How much do Congolese traditions still exist in Brazil, particularly perceptions of body and mind? o Language used is almost identical to Kikongo, language used in the Congo region o Many spirits, deities in Candomblé can be traced back to Congolese beliefs. o Although has not specifically studied discourse on perceptions of mind and body, the similarities in language and in religious beliefs would suggest that there would similarities in how mind, body, emotions, and afflictions are represented, at least in religious context 1
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Candomblé Practices 1) Worship of orishas: deities/spirits central to Congolese beliefs, still exist in Brazil as the orixas/orishas o These are divinities of nature, earth, wind, air, etc o Making offerings, appeasing the orixas important in Candomblé ± Strong orientation on offering food ± The notion of physical spaces is also important in Candomblé. There are beliefs that regulate which physical spaces may be used
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course ARCH 4.401 taught by Professor Utemetabauer during the Fall '06 term at MIT.

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4_5_05_460j_rev - 21A.460 April 5, 2005 Guest Lecturer:...

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