Jallo, Zainabu Ojo-Ago (19 April 2019). FROM CRIMINAL ANTHROPOLOGY TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: TRANSITIONS OF CANDOMBLÉ`S MATERIAL CULTURE (Unpublished). In: Techniques of Memory: Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power. University of California, Berkeley. April 17-19, 2019.

Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian spirit possession religious cult, comprises a rich array of sounds, myths, ritual performances and aesthetics. The origins of the cult in Brazil date back to the 1500s when a majority of the slaves traded from West Africa sought ways to retain their indigenous religious practice. The first images associated with Candomblé appeared through defamatory actions in the early 20th century when some Brazilian newspapers published articles about police raids, accompanied by names and images of those prosecuted. Since then, the practice of Candomblé has witnessed a shift from a closed sacred cult, fraught with discrimination and persecution, to its incorporation into the construction of a new national character in Brazil. Over the years, the Candomblé arena has morphed into a cosmopolis; a corollary of vibrant and evolving visual representations. Investigations into the cult have emerged from academic fields such as Anthropology and Cultural Studies with diverse interests and perceptions. Paradoxically, given the persecution of Candomblé practitioners in the early-mid nineteenth century, the subsequent decades have witnessed the intensification of Afro-Brazilian religions as a permeating representation of Brazilian character. Candomblé as a religious-cultural practice has evolved, transcending its racial markers and sacred traditional rituals through its visual material representations in the public sphere. My presentation at the Global Urban Humanities symposium would be a section of my Doctoral Research that adopts iconic criticism in analysing the transition of Candomblé ritual artefacts from criminal anthropology to cultural anthropology. It looks at the contexts in which artefacts were seized from shrines to museum specimen, to their categorization as items to be examined under criminal anthropology and then unto their preservation and recategorization as valuable items of Brazil’s cultural heritage. I shall also focus on the different inferences adopted by some of the artefacts in their mobility.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Jallo, Zainabu Ojo-Ago


200 Religion
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 390 Customs, etiquette & folklore


[UNSPECIFIED] Universit of California , Berkeley,




Zainabu Ojo-Ago Jallo

Date Deposited:

13 May 2020 16:34

Last Modified:

13 May 2020 16:34


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