Affections and desires in the space of Faith – André de Jesus Lima’s (UFSB/Uneb) review of “Terreiros, barracões and affections: readings on homoaffectivity in Afro-Brazilian religions”, organized by Marcos Vinicius de Farias Reis and Sérgio Rogério Azevedo Junqueira
Abstract: Terreiros, barracões and affections: readings on homoaffectivity in Afro-Brazilian religions is the fifth volume of the Estudos da Religião collection, launched in 2020, by Editora Nepan, which addresses issues relevant to Studies of Religion and the teaching of Human Sciences. Organized by Marcos Vinicius de Farias Reis and Sérgio Rogério Azevedo Junqueira, the volume we are reviewing deals especially with the relationships between Terreiros and homosexuality, racism and homophobia, homoaffectivity and cult, gender issues and religious practices in traditional communities of Terreiro.
Keywords: Affections, Desires, Traditional Terreiro Communities.
The Federal University of Amapá produces the book Terreiros, barracões and affections: readings on homoaffectivity in Afro-Brazilian religions, the fifth volume of the “Religion Studies” collection, which is distributed by Nepan Editora and is available in digital and free format. Throughout the five volumes, the collection proposes themes of great epistemological value for the present day, such as Religious Education and research related to it in the northern region of Brazil. Branching out the studies to other locations in the country, the collection encompasses the examination of religions linked to the notions of teaching Human Sciences, including History. In addition, the collection promotes a secular, inclusive and respectful education to all ways of existing, believing and teaching about them.
This review aims to specifically analyze the fifth volume of the collection. The work is organized by two intellectuals in the area of Religious Studies, who relate this domain to the most diverse fields of Human Sciences. The first of these is Professor Marcos Vinicius de Freitas Reis, who has a PhD in Sociology (UFSCar) and a postdoctoral degree in Frontier Studies (UNIFAP) and in Religious Sciences (UEPA). He is currently a professor of the Academic Master’s Degree in Social History (UNIFA), in the Specialization Course in School Management (UEAP), in the History Course at the Federal University of Amapá (UNIFAP), in addition to being a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Cape Verde. He works in research in the area of Sociology of Religion, with an emphasis on religious diversity in the Amazon. The second organizer is Professor Sérgio Rogério Azevedo Junqueira, who has a doctorate and a master’s degree in Educational Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University (Rome – Italy), postdoctoral degree in Science of Religion (PUCSP) and in Geography of Religion (UFPR). He is currently Full Professor at PUCPR (2008). He has extensive experience in the area of Education and Religion, teaching in various institutions in Brazil and abroad.
The volume under analysis addresses sensitive issues that need to be worked on in the area of education, as it relates the studies of Afro-Brazilian religions with the theme that involves the social, political and liturgical dilemmas of the LGBTQIA+ community. The objective is to bring new perspectives on the confrontations and challenges in approaching these themes.
The collection is divided into a preface and six chapters in the form of independent articles, written by professors and researchers from different areas, including priests and practitioners of African matrix religions, philosophers, scholars in the field of religion, leaders of cultural institutions, in addition to professionals in the field of journalism and law. Each of them concisely contributes to the central theme of the collection.
The preface, signed by Doctor and Babalorixá Sidnei Nogueira, introduces the reading and deepens colonial, decolonial and postcolonial issues around the themes that involve the colonization of the African continent and its subordination to hegemonic Euro-Western patterns. The author explains how the European man conceived a self-centered way of looking, seeing the “other” through a dense fog of stereotypes, affecting the way of seeing black and African culture, including affections, sexualities and all modes of existence that are not embraced by the European way of life. The presence of the Babalorixá in the preface enriches the work, bringing the vision of a Candomblé scholar and priest who shows a peculiar vision of how affections are directed, exercised and received by black people, practitioners or not of religions of African matrices, discussing with propriety about the oppressive and dominating aspects that coloniality imposes. Finally, the author presents the collection, chapter by chapter, bringing a brief summary of the articles that compose it.
Chapter one, entitled “Afro-Brazilian Traditions”, written by professors Sérgio Junqueira and Edmar Antonio Brostulim, brings an ancestral and historical discussion about religions of African matrices in Brazil. The text individually analyzes Candomblé and Umbanda, listing their differences with regard to rites and historical formations. The text points to the African continent as the cradle of each of the Afro-religious ramifications, demonstrating how the religious experience and sexuality “shape” the subjects within a Traditional Community of Terreiro (CTTro) in its social, mythical and ritualistic character in cults. The authors highlight the terreiros as spaces for human reception that receive and gather believers regardless of class, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Chapter two, whose title is “Terreiro, Homosexuality and Desires: The Pleasures and the N’zo – The Body as a Support for Desire and Sexual Experience”, was written by journalist and also candomblecist Washington Luís Kamugenan. The text discusses how sexualities, affections and terreiro identities are shaped by human desires in a CTTro. The author points to the problems that the heteronormative model imposes on Western religions in the field of postmodernity in which the terreiros are inserted, where the so-called “tradition” ends up exercising moral values often anchored in models of heteronormativity. From there, the author establishes a dialogue between body, desire and faith in the religious and social field of what he calls Candomblé de Angola.
Chapter three, entitled “Between racism and homophobia: the presence of black gay men in Traditional Communities of Terreiro”, written by Professor Thiago Teixeira, discusses the relationship between racism and homophobia in the spread of prejudice in Brazil. The author argues that the presence of gay black men in Western religions, which are composed of heteronormative white men, challenges the norm and dismantles the racist and homophobic discourse of the Christian religion in postmodernity. The chapter shows how the CTTro are inclusive spaces for worshipers who do not fit into Western molds, since the black gay man is present in virtually all compositions of worship and houses.
In the chapter “Gender issues in Kwé by Mina Djedjê Nagô by Toy Lissá and Toyá: Jarina in the State of Amapá”, professors Clebson de Amorim Silveira and Marcos Vinicius de Freitas Reis discuss gender issues and LGBTQIA+ in the daily life of a terreiro specific in the capital of the state of Amapá. They point out that, unlike Christian and Western religions, the CTTro have the common presence of homosexual priests and priestesses in the leadership of the temples, because the differentiation between male and female in religions of African matrix concerns the human functions that each individual performs before the liturgical needs of the terreiros and in the relationship with the deities of the African pantheon. Such spaces of worship are thus shown to be places of manifestation of multiple gender identities, using as an example the House of Worship researched in that article.
The fifth chapter, called “Homoaffectivity and possession cults: issues of theory for Umbanda”, written by Professor Edmar Antonio Brostulim, aims to understand the relationship between religion and gender with attention to homoaffectivity in the terreiros. The author explains the multiplicity of cults present in Umbanda throughout the Brazilian territory, bringing to light the welcoming character of this religion to the LGBTQIA+ community. It makes a bibliographic review that demonstrates how homosexuality has been seen in Afro-Brazilian religions throughout history, understanding the multiple spectrums in which the terreiros welcome such characters, mainly in the spaces of leadership. The chapter highlights the relationship between gender, power and religion.
The writer and PhD student in Law Phablo Freire presents in the sixth and final chapter entitled “Secular discourse and asymmetric positioning of the LGBTI+ community in Brazil” a theoretical discussion on the rights of the LGBTI+ community and its confrontation with legal provisions, as well as a debate on the faith and the issue of secularism in public and private spaces. The author addresses the problem that this theme imposes on the LGBTQIA+ community in the western configuration of modernity, which orbits around European Christian hegemony. By the way, the author uses the acronym LGBTI+ at a certain point in the text, replacing the acronym with its more complete form LGBTQIA+. It is known that the difference between the acronyms corresponds only to generational and political positions, however the author does not specify the meaning of the change. He highlights the importance of discourse as a social, political and ideological practice in the construction of social identities, as well as the positioning of subjects in spaces lived in the community, which culminates in power relations. Finally, the author explains that the secularity of the spaces should mean the absence of rejections and prejudices in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community, considering that the ideological discourses that place such individuals in a subordinate position come from Western and Christian religious spaces, not representing the national population and considering the submission of the entire Brazilian society to the norms of the Democratic State.
When analyzing the chapters of volume five of the “Religion Studies” Collection, it is possible to perceive that in some texts the colonial issue is a fundamental element in triggering all forms of prejudice and social, cultural and epistemological discrimination that are still present in our society. By dealing with the black origin of Candomblé, differentiating it from Umbanda, the authors present a way of eliminating technical inconsistencies existing in the social imaginary, which often fails to distinguish between the two religions. It is important to point out that the Candomblé dealt with in the work is of the Bantu tradition, originating from the ancestral practices of peoples who came from central Africa, specifically from the region of Angola.
All texts dealing with Afro-Brazilian religiosity show differences with the Christian religions. Religions of Afro-Brazilian matrices do not follow European normative standards which, based on a heteronormative and masculine whiteness, end up articulating the social and sexual actions of their followers. At this point, the texts highlight that both Candomblé and Umbanda value respect for the sexuality of their members, since the male and female roles are equally related to the sacred, each in its own space of action, sexuality being a possibility of self-construction and interaction with the deities and their respective human functions.
It is worthy of attention the special care given to the relationship between homoaffectivity and racial issues. As black men, gays and candomblecists, it is evident that such characters are sometimes erased from the social and political role they play in their Terreiros, regardless of their function. The texts clearly show that such characters act with courage by assuming a black masculinity that faces the models of oppression that float in limbo between racism and homophobia.
The issue of religious racism and physical persecution of Candomblé temples across Brazil was also addressed in this volume. The texts show how they are linked to the black origin of the cults, but do not seek to understand their impact on the experience of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Such hate practices against the terreiros affect people whose simple lifestyle affects the imaginary of the oppressor. This idea points out that Brazil is a country mostly anchored in a western Christian colonial religiosity and in a heteronormative social model. However, it is important to point out, and this is explained in the volume under analysis, that Afro-Brazilian religiosity also has aspects that are anchored in a western colonial binary between masculine and feminine.
In the book, the description of the internal roles assigned to men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, ends up leaving doubts about the participation of trans people in the spaces of power of the Terreiros. By the way, the aforementioned volume deals with homoaffectivity from the male perspective, not delving into women’s issues involving the lesbian perspective on the subject, and not having female voices that address the content in at least one article. Although I briefly mention obstacles suffered by transgender people, there are ongoing debates about transsexuality in Candomblé that address the ritualistic parts and prohibitions that the so-called “sexual binarism” interposes. An example is the work of Claudenilson Dias (2020), which deals with trans identities in Candomblé, observing the contradictions present in the acceptance and rejection of such characters for certain ritualistic practices. The participation of trans people in the occupation of positions in Candomblé and other CTTro is still the stage for dialogues and research, and in the specific volume there was a lack of a broader discussion that covered such audiences, because, as the acronym itself demonstrates, the LGBTQIA+ group contemplates a large contingent of individuals struggling for representation.
Having pointed out the epistemological character of the work and its possible gaps, I finally analyze the structure of the volume in its editorial construction, which, despite presenting occasional flaws, does not lose its relevance. Initially, the work would need a grammatical review to eliminate word cuts and punctuation in inappropriate places. The fifth chapter even has repetitions of many paragraphs, without deepening the proposed central idea.
The text of the last chapter adequately presents the idea of secularism, making a prologue about the laws involving the LGBTQIA+ community. However, the author does not bring this issue to the reality of the Terreiros, which leads us to two questions about the article: how can the idea of secularity, linked to the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, contribute to the practices of a CTTro? How are the terreiros inserted (or not) in the secular discourse proposed by the author? Thinking about these two questions, it would be opportune for the text to be repositioned as the first chapter, as it brings important theoretical and statistical details to understand the issues raised by other texts. In this position, the subsequent texts could respond to the aforementioned questions in order to denote a certain textual “fluidity” of the collection.
Finally, it should be noted here that the 5th volume of the Religious Studies Collection is a relevant work on the national scene on Religious Studies and can be used as a teacher learning tool and for a good preparation of Human Sciences classes that address the themes of Afro-diasporic religions linked to the causes and demands of the LGBTQIA+ community. Although the texts bring few inferences about Religious Education, they elucidate the theme well for anyone who is really interested in delving into such topics. Another positive point is that the work brings the Afro-religious aspects of the northern region to the spotlight, highlighting terreiros, priests and characters that demonstrate a plurality within the plural universe of CTTro in Brazil. Therefore, its propagation and use by professors and researchers in the area for academic, literary purposes or purely for personal improvement and enjoyment is of great importance.
Summary of Terreiros, barracões e afetos: leituras sobre a homoafetividade nas religiões afro-brasileiras
- 1. Palavras livres contra desejos e afetos tensionados no interior das CTTro – Comunidades Tradicionais de Terreiro | Sidnei Nogueira
- 2. Tradições Afro-brasileiras | Sérgio Junqueira e Edmar Antonio Brostulim
- 3. Terreiro, homossexualidade e desejos: os prazeres e o N´zo: o corpo como suporte de desejo e experiência espiritual | Washington Luis (Kamugenan)
- 4. Entre o racismo e a homofobia: a presença de homens negros gays nas Comunidades Tradicionais de Terreiro | Thiago Teixeira
- 5. As questões de gênero no Kwé de Mina Djedjê Nagô de Toy Lissá e Toyá: Jarina no Estado do Amapá | Clebson de Amorim Silveira e Marcos Vinicius de Freitas Reis
- 6. Homoafetividade e cult os de possessão: questões da teoria para a Umbanda | Edmar Antonio Brostulim
- 7. Discurso laico e posicionamento assimétrico da comunidade LGBTI+ no Brasil | Phablo Freire
- Sobre os autores
To broaden your literature review
- See book reviews on
- Educação para a tolerância
- Homofobia | Homosexualidade | Homossexuais | Homossexualidade
- Religiões afro-brasileiras
- Religiosidade Afro-brasileira
- Terreiro de Candomblé
- Consult dossiers of articles on
- Cultos Afro-religiosos
- Desejo | Desejos
- Ensino de Religião
- Estudo das Religiões e da Religiosidade
- Identidades Religiosas
- Intolerância Religiosa | Intolerâncias | Intolerâncias Religiosas
- Religião | Religiões Afro-brasileiras
- Religiosidades Negras
- Tradição Afro-brasileira
André de Jesus Lima holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Ethnic-Racial Relations from the Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia (UFSB – Campus Sosígenes Costa / Porto Seguro). He is also a Historian at the Universidade do Estado da Bahia (UNEB – Campus XVIII / Eunápolis). He works in the field of research focused on black protagonism in the spheres of knowledge, with an emphasis on studies on Afro-Brazilian religions and religiosities. He has experience as a History and Philosophy Professor at the Bahia State Education Network. ID LATTES: http://lattes.cnpq.br/9054331029753368; ID ORCID: 0000-0003-0532-8913; instagram: @andrelimonada; E-mail: [email protected].
To cite this review
REIS, Marcos Vinicius de Freitas; JUNQUEIRA, Sérgio Rogério Azevedo (Orgs.). Terreiros, barracões e afetos: leituras sobre a homoafetividade nas religiões afro-brasileiras. Rio Branco: Nepan, 2021. 79p. Resenha de: LIMA, André de Jesus. Afetos e desejos no espaço da Fé. Crítica Historiográfica. Natal, v.3, n.11, mar./abr., 2021. Disponível em<https://www.criticahistoriografica.com.br/afetos-e-desejos-no-espaco-da-fe-resenha-de-andre-de-jesus-lima-sobre-terreiros-barracoes-e-afetos-leituras-sobre-a-homoafetividade-nas-religioes-afro-brasileiras-organ/>. DOI: 10.29327/254374.3.10-4
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