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Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) Paperback – 22 Nov 2001

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Paperback, 22 Nov 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Updated and expanded ed edition (22 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224759
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,456,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"I know of no other work about Vodou that can teach the uninitiated so fully what it means to know: how unassuming, contingent and matter-of-fact real konesans (understanding) must be." - Joan Dayan, Women's Review of Books "This volume is superb: a poignant account of a Haitian migrant to New York and how she appropriates and reworks her family knowledge of healing and ritual.... Gently informed by her own life and by women's anthropology, Brown offers a sympathetic and vivid portrait of the lives of a group of women." - Roland Littlewood, Political and Social Science "Novelistic chapters, beautifully written, are alternated with a narrative of the present, including descriptions of the members of the Vodou pantheon and how Alourdes serves them.... She has written a life story that is full of feeling." - Constance Casey, Los Angeles Times "Brown's ethnographic short stories vividly capture the complicated personal history that is summed up in Mama Lola's full name and they also dramatize the larger social processes at work in Haiti's recent history.... Mama Lola provides an engaging, detailed, and sympathetic account of the world of Haitian Vodou. Brown has used a variety of interesting, and even daring, techniques to make that world come alive." - Eugene V. Gallagher, Journal of the American Academy of Religion


Karen McCarthy Brown's "Mama Lola" challenges 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. Brown's work is an 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.

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12 November 1997
Format: Hardcover
8 people found this helpful
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Most helpful customer reviews on 4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsRich, visual descriptions that never let me lose sight of, or fail to appreciate the people involved- I learned a lot
29 February 2016 - Published on
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Neo Films
5.0 out of 5 starsCaptivating story of Moma Lola/Alurdes, who is a Vodou ...
14 January 2017 - Published on
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One person found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsYou can't help but love this family!
5 October 2004 - Published on
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12 people found this helpful.
Celeste Johnson
5.0 out of 5 starsin great condition even though it was used
5 November 2017 - Published on
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4.0 out of 5 starsVery long, but thorough anthropological book
24 November 2012 - Published on
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