The New Forest School: Rituals of Resistance and Re-Memberment in Life on the Margin (Bogotá, Colombia)



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



By way of exploring how pillars of transnationalism, faith, and history are harnessed by migrants as a means to purposeful ends in potentially hostile urban environments, this study proceeds to investigate the religious phenomena that occur at the intersections of devotion and diaspora, belief and history, and gender and generation within the divergent migrant enclaves of Bogotá. Specifically, this study asks: If and how is [diasporic] religion operationalized among Bogotá’s migrant undercaste and how is it tied to resistance and hope? Furthermore, how do contemporary contours of Structural Violence and Deathworlds impact the rise and survival of such religions? More precisely, how have aspects of two uniquely syncretic and diasporic religions, Cuban Santería and Maria Lionza (from Venezuela), been deployed and subsequently altered (or rather, extended) by migrant devotees in Bogotá and for what purpose(s)? Within the various contexts of this study, ”Rituals of Resistance” and “Re-memberment” are defined respectively as transcendental reformations/survival mechanisms and as the process of reclaiming (or reframing) historical, subconscious influences/modes of feeling that have been lost and/or transplanted due to dynamics of diaspora. From a set of five ethical encounters, which utilize the kinetic ethnographic tool of Street Phenomenology “Go Alongs,” a myriad of historically-deep and culturally-broad conceptualizations, via these individuals’ transitory experiences, of what the sacred is and where it can be found come to light. Appropriately so, with the intent to understand why and how the aforementioned extensions of tradition occur alongside movement, this analysis duly applies an ontological microscope to both initiated and liminal spaces and imaginaries that have deftly avoided it; while the noted increase of subaltern, diasporic religious influences in Colombia’s ciudad cosmopolita continue to be largely neglected in scholarly discourse beyond the prevailing quest to uncover bundanga (the mysterious).



Santería, Bogotá