Food-for-words: Sacrificial counterpoint and oracular articulacy in Cuba

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By critically engaging with anthropological theories on sacrifice and religious “mediation,” this article offers a doubly indigenous ethnographic theory of sacrifice and much beyond. Using material on Afro-Cuban divination and Fernando Ortiz’s notion of “counterpoint,” it goes beyond dominant scholarly understandings of sacrifice as a dialectical mediation between the “sacred” and the “profane,” and an act of substitution and annihilation. Rather, it offers an account of sacrifice as part of a much wider praxis and field wherein it serves, among many other offerings, materials and sensibilities, as a counterpoint and crossroads of exchange. The outcome is a dynamic transformation of a point of view into a “path” that is guided and forged through the ignition and further cultivation of oracular articulacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-487
Number of pages14
JournalHAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018


  • Afro-Cuban religion
  • counterpoint
  • divination
  • perspective
  • sacrifice
  • mediation

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