People of Faith

People of Faith: Slavery and African Catholics in Eighteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro
Mariza de Carvalho Soares, translated by Jerry D Metz
2012, Duke University Press
322 pages, plates

THE identities created by slaves from Benin in Africa after they were transported to Brazil have become of great interest to scholars and this book adds to research on the theme, providing a nuanced and rich picture of the role played by a Catholic lay brotherhood formed by the enslaved Mina congregants of a Rio church. Carvalho Soares looks at how such brotherhoods established their own ritualistic hierarchies – often based on the principle of monarchy – and provides perceptive insights into the complex and layered nature of identity within the African diaspora in colonial Brazil. – GJ