There was an endorsement that didn’t make it to my new book Babalawo: Santería’s High Priests or the publisher’s website (at least not yet). Unfortunately, it’s the one I’m most proud of:
“He is an excellent babalawo, my best godchild and wherever I go I use him as an example. An American who is as much a babalawo as us (in Cuba). As I always say, he is my most advanced godchild. It is always invigorating to share my little grains (of knowledge) with a godchild that I hold in such esteem and respect as a human being and as a babalawo.” – Miguelito Perez Alvarez (Ogbe Dandy), elder babalawo and Frank Baba Eyiogbe’s Padrino in La Havana, Cuba
The blurb that DID make it, was shortened a lot. I understand that even though it was great, the publisher has to make the tough decisions. But here’s Stephan Palmié’s complete blurb:
“A wonderful and much needed addition to the literature on Afro-Cuban religion. Engagingly written, scholarly while remaining accessible, reflexive and at times even funny, it presents an up to date exposition of both the history and contemporary philosophy of one of the world’s most complex systems of divination, from the point of view of a priestly scholar of his own religion deeply rooted in the Cuban tradition of Ifa. While it ought to be required reading for both scholars and priests of Afro-Cuban religious formations, it also serves as an even-handed and easily readable guide for “the perplexed”, and those members of the general public drawn towards forms of spirituality that, by now, have become part and parcel of the American religious landscape, and are experiencing rapid globalization.” – Stephan Palmié, Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and author of The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion.
I find it hilarious that he’s just about the ONLY ethnologist that isn’t initiated and he “gets” us more than pretty much anyone. By the way, his book The Cooking of History is great. In fact, I am indebted to that book (and to Dr. Palmié) for making me come to the realization that however I spelled the terms in the book would be a political act, whether I liked it or not. And so his book changed the way I wrote my book. Not bad for an aleyo. Hahaha.