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ERIC Number: ED346429
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Literacy as Magic: The Role of Oral and Written Texts in the Santeria Religious Community.
Gelb, Richard G.
Santeria is a religion which originated in West Africa and evolved from the syncretism of the culture of the Yoruba people with Catholicism in Cuba. Juanita, who was born in Puerto Rico and taught herself how to read and write, owns a "botanica," a retail shop specializing in Santeria paraphernalia. Juanita is a santera (priestess) in her religion; her knowledge of Santeria was taught to her via an initiation system. Although Juanita has had little formal schooling, she has been able to maintain and operate a successful business for more than 20 years. In her work and in her dual role as santera and businesswoman, Juanita uses strategies such as experimentation, observation, reading, memorization, and research. Business is transacted at the botanica in both Spanish and English; Yoruba is used only for ceremonial purposes. The oral nature of this environment is exemplified by Juanita's almost exclusive reliance on advertising via word of mouth or the radio. Beneath this veneer of orality, however, is a rich bilingual print environment. Even Juanita's oral performances (a form of story-telling connected with the act of divination) are based on the literate behaviors of research, reading, and memorization. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A