Mama Lola has ratings and 48 reviews. Bill said: Walking between the worldsKaren McCarthy Brown has penned a masterpiece! Mama Lola, known to fam. Karen McCarthy Brown’s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African-based religion in everyday life. She explores the. This book, Mama Lola, A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn, is an exploration into one woman’s life and family heritage, and how she comes into the role of a healer.
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Karen McCarthy Brown’s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African-based religion in everyday life. Bbrooklyn 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 prriestess the voices of her subjects in alternat Karen McCarthy Brown’s classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an im portrait of African-based religion in everyday life.
Weaving several of her own voices–analytic, descriptive, and personal–with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of broo,lyn ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola’s world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there. Prieshess original, Brown’s work endures as an important 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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Mama Lola, known to family and friends as Alourdes, is a Mambo, an initiated priestess of Voudou who brookly a modest living by serving her immigrant countrymen in America as a traditional healer and by conducting Haitian Voudou rites in her Brooklyn mamq. InBrown, then a professor of religion at New Jersey’s Drew University first encountered Mama Lola while doing an ethnographic survey of the local Haitian population.
Intrigued by the priestess and her misunderstood and maligned tradition, Brown became at first a friend, then a member ptiestess Mama Lola’s extended family and finally an enthusiastic participant in many of the rites that comprise the corpus of Voudoun devotional life. Mama Lola, her daughter Maggie, their children and their ancestors, and the ‘Lwa’ spirits who frequently ‘possess’ them are an engaging, wonderfully diverse crowd: By the time I had completed this delightful book, I felt myself deeply involved in Mama Lola’s life and that of her extended family.
Brown’s writing is textured and a pleasure to read. The author goes far out on a limb, leaving her observer role and social scientist expertise and becomes an initiate into the religion, wedding the ‘etic’ of academia to the ’emic’ of an ecstatic, profoundly sensual, Earth-centered religiosity.
The arrangement of the text adds to its readability, with odd chapters offering stories about Mama Lolw family and heritage and even chapters devoted to the pantheon of lwa spirits of ib Voudou tradition.
Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn – Karen McCarthy Brown – Google Books
A glossary of Voudou terms has been added, which is indispensible to readers new to the subject. Students and scholars of Haiti, the Mamx Diaspora and African religious traditions will enjoy and benefit from this work immensely. I recommend it as well to the general public for a most worthwhile reading adventure. Jul 21, Pamela rated it it was amazing. This is an extraordinary book. In this account, she is part anthropologist and part friend.
Mama Lola comes off as an utterly real person: Her grown daughter too is “coming up” in the line of family mambos. Brown also does a good job of conveying what life is like for Haitian emigre This is an extraordinary book.
Brown also does a good job of conveying what life is like for Haitian emigres still half connected to the country of their birth or their parents’ birth and half absorbed into American society.
The Vodou religion is widely misrepresented and misunderstood outside of Haiti and even inside itvodoj this book, with its mix of anecdote, history, folk tale, travel narrative, and accounts of actual Vodou rituals the author underwent her own initiation but does not describe that here, as the details of that are considered sacred brought me far closer to understanding than any other that I’ve consulted.
I learned to fodou sorrow that Brown developed an rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s in the late s and will not be able to bring us any more of her probing work. This volume was published in but has been updated a couple of times–I read the original edition. May 09, Juliana rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a really fascinating look at Vodou. Brown talks about it largely from the perspective of the people she grew to know in the course of writing the book, and from her own perspective as she became involved with the religion herself, rather than as an outsider looking at a little-understood and much-misunderstood religion.
Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Vodou, and to people who want to know more about Haiti, since while the focus is on Haitian immigrants in Brook This brkoklyn a really fascinating lla at Vodou. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Vodou, and to people who want to know more about Haiti, priestesa while the focus is on Haitian immigrants in Brooklyn, their lives and experiences are very much tied to Haiti and the importance of Vodou in Haiti.
Jul 15, Bey Deckard rated it it was amazing Shelves: Finally got my copy back and it’s returned to its shelf in my library.
This is one of those books I’m forever lending out because I absolutely loved it and I think more people should read it.
I first read it in an anthropology class that dealt with magic, religion, and spirituality and it stuck with me. Nov 30, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: This is a book hard to rate. Some parts of it is quite interesting – on the modern read s use of vodou in Haiti and how it transforms and translates to life for Haitian immigrants in New York.
That really IS quite interesting. The presentation of Alourdes Mama Lola is okay though I might found it a bit too personal, in a way that the book doesn’t really warrant. But what really made me want to hurl the book to the other side of the room from time to time is Karen’s personal involvement – This is a book hard to rate. But what really made me want to hurl the book to the other side of the room from time to time is Karen’s personal involvement – not in the vodou life herself that’s up to her but in the book.
I can perfectly understand her statement that it is impossible for her to just stay out of it and be a silent observer I might not agree, but I understand it but that is no reason for her to always place herself smack in the middle of everything. It’s most cringing in the short stories in themselves a bit cringing where she writes about herself in third person.
But if you can look past that it’s an interesting book. Jun 10, Alex rated it really liked it Shelves: This is probably the first and easily the best ethnographic study done of Haitian vodou to date. Brown writes carefully about her subject and notes, as anyone who tries to look at vodou purely from an academic standpoint will tell you, that the only way to really understand what vodou is and does is to go inside and join the religion, which Brown did.
As someone who found vodou before he found Mama Lola, the book reverberates as a taste of home–the practices detailed are familiar and the lwa wri This is probably the first and easily the best ethnographic study done of Haitian vodou to date. As someone who found vodou before he found Mama Lola, the book reverberates as a taste of home–the practices detailed are familiar and the lwa written about mirror the spirits I know.
An excellent book for anyone curious about the religion or people involved in it, or anyone who wants a solid ethnography to chew on. Apr 13, Steve Wiggins rated it really liked it. A great book to get a sympathetic reading on voodoo. For an ethnography it is very easy to read. I recommend this, and offer further thoughts at: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
Apr 14, Christina rated it it was amazing. Packs in a lot of textbook information, without sounding like one. Personal, touching, and more tangible than any other anthropological piece I’ve read.
Sep 04, Robyn rated it liked it Recommends it for: It is, in fact, a very fast and pleasant read Alourdes’ Mama Lola tale is an important one At the risk of sounding a tad ornery, I suppose my issue with the book stems from [granted I read this almost 4 years ago!
At the risk of sounding a tad ornery, I suppose my issue with the book stems from the fact that– given my background in religious studies– I am no longer struck by broo,lyn which attempt to explore the charm and value of difference.
By establishing herself as the foil to Mama Lola at the onset of the book, I came to find KMB’s written role as observer more or less an imposition of a certain hubris.
I get it, it’s hard to be so edumacated and then turn around to endorse goat sacrifice as a generative practice To hook me in pridstess personalize the story? In my opinion, Alourdes can do the heavy lifting on her own. As is the case as the novel wears on Despite my lack of mercy, I do recommend you at least give it a try. I’ve jokingly recommended this for the “chicken soup for the soul” crowd. That’s simply the tenor of the first of so pages Oct 18, Jena rated it it was amazing.
I didn’t know anything about Haitian Vodou prior to reading this book other than common stereotypes from popular culture.
A friend of mine is pursuing her doctorate in religion and mentioned this book during a “Bible study” session. By Bible study, I refer to a group of people from my church who meet once a week to discuss all sorts of spiritual questions, issues, disciplines, etc. Mama Lola fascinated me. Karen McCarthy Brown weaves I didn’t know anything about Haitian Vodou prior to reading this book other than common stereotypes from popular culture.
Through her stories, you gain a sense of how this group of Haitian immigrants have brought their healing traditions to their lives in New York. The book is very dense — full of detailed stories of the various Vodou spirits often a blend s African spirits brpoklyn Roman Catholic saints. More than anything though, it dispelled misinformation I had about “voodoo” culture and shed light on a spiritual culture that strives to heal, understand, and connect in times of both suffering and joy.
Jul 03, Ben rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This is a really fascinating look at what kind of religion makes sense for people whose lives are extremely different from our own.
Brown’s sympathetic treatment of Vaudou helped me to understand not only Haitian religion, but also the religious culture of ancient pagan societies; it also gave me a better appreciation of the social functions that the modern global religions serve in our own society.
I wonder, though, whether there isn’t some irony in Brown’s highly positive treatment of Vaudou.