Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) (2020)

Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) Karen McCarthy Brown Mama Lola A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn Comparative Studies in Religion and Society Karen McCarthy Brown s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African based religion in everyday life She explores the importance of women s religious practices
  • Title: Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
  • Author: Karen McCarthy Brown
  • ISBN: 9780520224759
  • Page: 136
  • Format: Paperback
Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) Karen McCarthy Brown Karen McCarthy Brown s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African based religion in everyday life She explores the importance of women s religious practices along with related themes of family and of social change Weaving several of her own voices analytic, descriptive, and personal with the voices of her subjects in alternatKaren McCarthy Brown s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African based religion in everyday life She explores the importance of women s religious practices along with related themes of family and of social change Weaving several of her own voices analytic, descriptive, and personal with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of traditional ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola s world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there Startlingly original, Brown s work endures as an important experiment in ethnography as a social art form rooted in human relationships A new preface, epilogue, bibliography, and a collection of family photographs tell the story of the effect of the book s publication on Mama Lola s life.
Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) Karen McCarthy Brown

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One thought on “Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)

  1. Bill

    Walking between the worldsKaren McCarthy Brown has penned a masterpiece Mama Lola, known to family and friends as Alourdes, is a Mambo, an initiated priestess of Voudou who earns a modest living by serving her immigrant countrymen in America as a traditional healer and by conducting Haitian Voudou rites in her Brooklyn home In 1978, Brown, then a professor of religion at New Jersey s Drew University first encountered Mama Lola while doing an ethnographic survey of the local Haitian population In [...]

  2. Pamela

    This is an extraordinary book Karen McCarthy Brown spent over a decade getting to know the Haiti born mambo or Vodou healer known in her Brooklyn community as Mama Lola In this account, she is part anthropologist and part friend Mama Lola comes off as an utterly real person temperamental, sometimes unkind, but a woman of great gifts and insight Her grown daughter too is coming up in the line of family mambos Brown also does a good job of conveying what life is like for Haitian emigres still half [...]

  3. Juliana

    This is a really fascinating look at Vodou Brown talks about it largely from the perspective of the people she grew to know in the course of writing the book, and from her own perspective as she became involved with the religion herself, rather than as an outsider looking at a little understood and much misunderstood religion I d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about Vodou, and to people who want to know about Haiti, since while the focus is on Haitian immigrants in Brooklyn, their l [...]

  4. Rebecca

    This is a book hard to rate Some parts of it is quite interesting on the modern read 1980s use of vodou in Haiti and how it transforms and translates to life for Haitian immigrants in New York That really IS quite interesting The presentation of Alourdes Mama Lola is okay though I might found it a bit too personal, in a way that the book doesn t really warrant But what really made me want to hurl the book to the other side of the room from time to time is Karen s personal involvement not in the [...]

  5. Alex

    This is probably the first and easily the best ethnographic study done of Haitian vodou to date Brown writes carefully about her subject and notes, as anyone who tries to look at vodou purely from an academic standpoint will tell you, that the only way to really understand what vodou is and does is to go inside and join the religion, which Brown did.As someone who found vodou before he found Mama Lola, the book reverberates as a taste of home the practices detailed are familiar and the lwa writt [...]

  6. Bey Deckard

    Finally got my copy back and it s returned to its shelf in my library This is one of those books I m forever lending out because I absolutely loved it and I think people should read it I first read it in an anthropology class that dealt with magic, religion, and spirituality and it stuck with me.

  7. Christina

    Packs in a lot of textbook information, without sounding like one Personal, touching, and tangible than any other anthropological piece I ve read.

  8. Rebecca

    This book was wonderful I didn t know much about Hatian Voodou and this was a great intro It was also a much faster and less dry read than many academic texts.

  9. Robyn

    granted I read this almost 4 years ago preface this review with a heavy As I recall My blas attitude toward this book has very little to do with the content It is, in fact, a very fast and pleasant read certainly worthy at least of a plane ride summer peruse Alourdes Mama Lola tale is an important one and certainly words like inspirational, admirable and touching are not undeserved At the risk of sounding a tad ornery, I suppose my issue with the book stems from the fact that given my background [...]

  10. Jena

    I didn t know anything about Haitian Vodou prior to reading this book other than common stereotypes from popular culture A friend of mine is pursuing her doctorate in religion and mentioned this book during a Bible study session By Bible study, I refer to a group of people from my church who meet once a week to discuss all sorts of spiritual questions, issues, disciplines, etc whether or not they derive from a Christian perspective Mama Lola fascinated me Karen McCarthy Brown weaves together sto [...]

  11. Ben

    This is a really fascinating look at what kind of religion makes sense for people whose lives are extremely different from our own Brown s sympathetic treatment of Vaudou helped me to understand not only Haitian religion, but also the religious culture of ancient pagan societies it also gave me a better appreciation of the social functions that the modern global religions serve in our own society.I wonder, though, whether there isn t some irony in Brown s highly positive treatment of Vaudou She [...]

  12. Saundra

    It thought it was a really interesting read I doubt I would have picked this book up if it weren t for the class I read it for, but I liked it non the less Karen McCarthy Brown becomes transformed through her anthropological field work of Haitian Vodou, and it challenged a lot of assumption she had about life It really made me think about the truths that I hold and broadened my perspectives It was also pretty eye opening of to the hardships that Haitians and Haitian immigrants faces Life in Hait [...]

  13. Steven

    This book was absolutely wonderful, and deepened my understanding of Vodou tremendously Mama Lola, since the time that the book was written, has become one of the most important Haitian American spiritual leaders in the diaspora, and this book is a stunning account of her life My only criticism is that, since this book is first and foremost an ethnography, the author is sometimes a bit too analytical She has to be, because she is an academic, but too much analysis takes away from the orthopracit [...]

  14. Ari Eris

    Excellent book I learned not only a lot about Voodoo but also quite a bit about the struggle of the Haitian immigrant community in 1980s New York I particularly liked author s personal stories of Aloudes, the priestess who is the subject of the book, and her family Informative, personal, touching and occasionally funny a much accessible scholarly book than most.If you re new to Haitian Voodoo, try reading Alfred Metraux s Voodoo in Haiti first Metraux s book is a broad study, whereas Brown s is [...]

  15. [Name Redacted]

    Entertaining, but of an autobiography than a scholarly work Brown quickly and easily falls under Alourdes charismatic sway, yet as an outsider from a Western academic background is incapable of truly understanding the dynamics of Haitian vodou She neglects the reality of male vodou practitioners who are, for their part, possessed by female spirits , the subjective nature of her own analyses, and the limited nature of her experiences with one particular individual s approach to one particular br [...]

  16. Lauren

    Vodou is a misunderstood religion it is peaceful, individualistic, and deeply spiritual, not the demented caricature our society has created for us to believe I love McCarthy Brown s delicate treatment of Haitians living in Brooklyn, as well as her clear rendering of vodou s most complicated theological features This is an important book and a great work of ethnography for those who have read little of it.

  17. Lance

    This is an intriguing ethnography that clearly is written from the ground up We really see in McCarthy s Brown s analysis of Voudou how primitive religions actually make sense and play an important role in people s life What is amazing to me is how McCarthy Brown was able to embed so many theoretical strands within her narrative, making it a gold mind of methodology and theory for religions scholars without making it difficult or boring.

  18. Corbin

    When I saw this book on one of my college courses mandatory reading lists I was dreading it After the first chapter it had me hooked The book is a terrific research into a religion that I was completely ignorant on Voodoo to me was what I had seen in all the movies and cartoons, monsters and witch doctors After reading the book I became very interested in learning on the Voodoo Gods and Ceremonies.

  19. Ellen

    Really interesting ethnography of vodou, which I knew nothing about previously For you anthropology nerds, there is a funny note in the foreword about how the author was doing fieldwork while the whole post modern controversy was going Immediately after its publication, her book was hailed as this great example of post modernism and she had no idea what they were talking about.

  20. Aura

    Beautiful piece of scholarship In embracing her subjectivity, McCarthy Brown created a complete work that denied most misconceptions people have about Haitian religion Of course you would need literature to do some work on Vodou, but still, Mama Lola should be required reading for anyone studying Afro Caribbean religion More than a book about religion, it is a book about humanity.

  21. Alysia Seymour

    I read this book for one of my anthropology classes in college, then wrote a paper on it I found this book very intriguing as well as educational I learned a lot about vodou and the culture behind it I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to broaden their knowledge and learn about a strong woman who faces many struggles, but overcomes them.

  22. Alexandra

    Excellent overview of Haitian Rada vodou in Brooklyn Both Alourdes and Karen McCarthy Brown emerge as complex individuals harnassing physical and spiritual resources to solve deep social problems associated with immigration and poverty in America.

  23. Steve Wiggins

    A great book to get a sympathetic reading on voodoo For an ethnography it is very easy to read I recommend this, and offer further thoughts at Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.

  24. Elizabeth Sierra

    A book to read for an Anthropology class Otherwise, I don t think I would ve chosen it I found it interesting, but because I was forced to read it I wasn t as engaged as I would be if I chose it for myself.

  25. Kineta

    The chapters alternate between biographical stories spanning multiple generations of Mama Lola s family and information about the lwa It s well written and fascinating Gives a very nice overview of Vodou and Haitian culture.

  26. Emilade

    I was reading a great deal about Voudou at the time, and this added an interesting side story, specifically helping me understand the differences between Voudou as practiced in different parts of the world A genuinely interesting read.Its a good book, you should read it.

  27. Dimity

    This book has disappeared into the same black hole in my house that ate my wedding ring, most of my favorite movies and about a third of the baby s socks When it reappears, I will give it another go.

  28. Monika

    An example of how the Vodou religion is so entertwined with practioners lives you can not segregate the two A religion that brings ancestors back to life via possession and the difficult history of the Haitian people.

  29. T.Kay Browning

    The writing was at times too academic and then too ephemeral for me to follow along closely, but that experience of disorientation probably also mirrored the author s own experience well So many great insights and tough questions, I don t know if cross cultural anthropology gets much better.

  30. Kaela Schreck

    It was interesting to learn about voodoo and that some aspects aren t as different as we think they are Also voodoo dolls are not part of the Haitian religion, they are made up by the mediawho knew

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