This week we worked on new understandings of the importance of geopolitical negotiations in the constitution of Latina bodies and their exercise of devotion. Looking at three vastly different, yet interrelated cases (the mobile devotion of guadalupanas, spirit possession in the Venezuelan cult of María Lionza, and the various branches of affiliation and love towards Yemayá), we are explored how these communities / tribes / ethnicities / religions weave powerful threads of gendered sacredness.
On Monday, compared the importance of mobility, migration, sacred space and spirit possessions as analyzed in the articles by Peña and Placido. And on Wednesday, we focused on Yemayá, examining the role played by interorality, water, waves, and dance in the various branches of devotion towards her.
Rather than asking you to summarize or comment these events, figures, or histories comparatively, I am asking you to write a reflection about method. That is to say, how is it that the work of ethnography (storytelling, walking, observing, asking, questioning, empathizing, and so on) helps us, or not, better understand migration and devotion; how faith on the move (or in flux, as Dr. Premawardhana has termed the case of Pentecostals in Mozambique) can be better read and interpreted by means of ethnography of religion.
Please, post your answer to this question when you have a chance. This post does not have the usual deadline of Sunday at 5pm, for two reasons: one, my belated posting this prompter. And two, the fact that this is an overarching reflection, given that we have considered the importance of ethnographic work for the study of Latinas and Religion. Midterm reflection, no exam, though. Happy reflecting!