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The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Trinidad$
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Alexander Rocklin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648712

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648712.001.0001

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Outlawing Religion

Outlawing Religion

(p.110) 4 Outlawing Religion
The Regulation of Religion and the Making of Hinduism in Colonial Trinidad

Alexander Rocklin

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores obeah, composite Trinidadian spirit worlds, and Indian Trinidadians' relations to both. There were complex and murky connections between the discourse on obeah (part of the broader discourse on religion) and the diverse practices of healing and spirit working that were frequently described using the category "obeah." This chapter negotiates between these, looking at the ways in which they subtly and not so subtly shaped one another. It analyzes Indians' afterlife and spirit imaginaries, their insertion into and negotiation of the discourse on obeah, and the arguments that Indians made as part of anti-obeah court cases for the status of their often non-normative, boundary- crossing practices as being not obeah but rather religion.

Keywords:   Muharram, Hosay, Islam, violence, colonialism

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