Condition or Effect? Both.

In the thirteenth century, King Frederick II of Germany decided to conduct an experiment. He wanted to determine what language children would speak if never permitted to hear the spoken word. So he assigned foster mothers to care for fifty infants. The women were instructed to bathe and nurse the babies but not to fondle, […]

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My Family’s Rituals

My parents are Taiwanese and in Taiwan one of the main religions in Buddhism. My family is minimally religious so I don’t know much about Buddhism. What I do know is that there is no obvious indication of being religious in our culture. Asides from truly significant dates, people do not visit temples or have […]

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On Habitus

This week, we discussed habitus and agreed that habitus must be social. It is not an individualistic idea as it is one that is shared and to be shared. Indeed, habitus can be hard to comprehend. We often don’t ponder over our behavior and daily activities. What happens when we do question it, then? I […]

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Spiritual Possession in Afro-Brazilian Candomblé

Before entering a discussion on spiritual possession, please watch this clip of a Candomblé/Umbanda ritual from one of my favorite Brazilian films, Orfeu Negro (1959), by Marcel Camus. To give some context, Orfeu Negro is an French filmed, Afro-Brazilian adaptation of the Greek legend Black Orpheus and takes place within one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums) during Carnaval. In this scene, […]

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