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New Article on Cuban Kongo Culture

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By Todd Ramon Ochoa in: Cultural Anthropology Vol. 25, # 3, pp. 387–420, Aug. 2010

ABSTRACT. In “Prendas-Ngangas-Enquisos: Turbulence and the Influence of the Dead in Cuban Kongo Material Culture,” Todd Ramón Ochoa queries the ontological status of complex “agglomerations of the dead that take the shapes of urns and iron cauldrons stuffed with healing and harming substances” called “prendas,” “ngangas,” and/or “enquisos,” and their role in Cuban Kongo affliction practices. The article includes a deep historical analysis of the negotiation of value in  nineteenth-century Cuban slavery and manumission, considered alongside what is known about pawn slavery among BaKongo people prior to and during the slave trade. Ochoa outlines the difficulties to explain prendas-ngangas-enquisos, most frequently considered as “fetish objects”  and points at “the influence generated in prendas-ngangas-enquisos as a problem for Euro-American materialism.”

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