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This Spot of Ground - Spiritual Baptists in Toronto

This Spot of Ground

Spiritual Baptists in Toronto

By Carol B. Duncan
Subjects Women's Studies, Emigration And Immigration, Religion
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Paperback : 9781554588459, 292 pages, November 2012
Hardcover : 9781554580170, 304 pages, August 2008

Table of contents

Table of Contents for This Spot of Ground: Spiritual Baptists in Toronto by Carol B. Duncan

Preface

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION

The Research Setting

The Study as a “Talking Book”

Travessao

Book Overview

1. “A PASSPORT TO HEAVEN’S GATE”

Introduction

“Heaven’s Gate”: Canada in the North American and Caribbean Black Imaginary

Church-Ship: Spiritual Voyaging

Spiritual Baptists in Multicultural Canada: Considering Religious and National Identities in Migration

Countercultures of Modernity and the Problem of Multiculturalism

A Historical Overview of Multiculturalism in Canada

Multiculturalism in the Spiritual Baptist Church

Spiritual Baptist Perceptions and Experiences of Multiculturalism in Canada

Conclusion

2. “THIS SPOT OF GROUND”: THE EMERGENCE OF SPIRITUAL BAPTISTS IN TORONTO

Introduction

Origins of the Spiritual Baptist Church in the Caribbean

“This Spot of Ground”: The Spiritual Baptist Church as “Homeplace” in Toronto

The Founding of the First Spiritual Baptist Church in Toronto (1975–1980)

Toronto Spiritual Baptist Church Organization

Conclusion

3. “SO SPIRITUALLY, SO CARNALLY”: SPIRITUAL BAPTIST RITUAL, THEOLOGY, AND THE EVERYDAY WORLD IN TORONTO

Introduction

“So Carnally, So Spiritually”

Ritual as Performance and Social Commentary

Joining the Spiritual Baptist Church in Toronto

Coming to Canada

Work Experiences

“It Hurt Me Feelings”: Naming Racism

“I Say You Can Call Me ‘Damn Bitch’...Just Don't Call Me ‘Madam’!”: Challenging Sexist Racism

The Church as Community: Support Networks in the Spiritual Baptist Church

Conclusion

4. “AFRICALAND”: “AFRICA” in TORONTO SPIRITUAL BAPTIST EXPERIENCE

Introduction

Africaland

Sacred Space and Place in the Spiritual Baptist Church

Sacred Time in the Spiritual Baptist Church

Travelling to Africaland

Africa as Eden

Africaland and the African Diaspora

Conclusion

5. “DEY GIVE ME A HOUSE TO GATHER IN DI CHIL’REN”: MOTHERS AND DAUGHTER IN THE SPIRITUAL BAPTIST CHURCH

Introduction

An Overview of Domestic Service in Canada

The Mothers of the Church

Family in the Spirit: Extended Family in the Spiritual Baptist Church

“If You Don’t Come to Me, I’m Coming to You”: Ancestral Mother

“Dey Give Me a House to Gather in di Chil’ren”: Spiritual Mother/Carnal Mother

“God Has Work for You to Do”: Nation Mother

“It Makes You Feel Like Home”: Spiritual Daughter

Conclusion

6. AUNT(Y) JEMIMA IN TORONTO SPIRITUAL BAPTIST EXPERIENCES: SPIRITUAL MOTHER OR SERVILE WOMAN?

Introduction

“Seeing” Aunt Jemima

(Re)Turning the Gaze on Aunt(y) Jemima

Re-reading Aunt(y) Jemima and the Creole Woman

Tie-head Woman

Head-ties and the Social Construction of Identity

Conclusion

CONCLUSION

“To Pick It Up and Take It Forward”

 

Bibliography

Index

Description

This Spot of Ground: Spiritual Baptists in Toronto represents the first detailed exploration of an African-Caribbean religion in the context of contemporary migration to Canada. Toronto is home to Canadas largest black population, a significant portion of which comprises Caribbean migrants and their descendants.

This book shows how the development of the Spiritual Baptist religion in Canada has been shaped by the immigration experiences of church members, the large majority of whom are women, and it examines the ways in which religious experiences have mediated the members’ experiences of migration and everyday life in Canada. This Spot of Ground is based on a critical ethnography, with in-depth interviews and participant observations of church services and other ritual activities, including baptism and pilgrimage and field research in Trinidad that explores the transnational linkages with Spiritual Baptists there. The book addresses theoretical and methodological issues also, including the development of perspectives suitable for examining diasporic African religious and cultural expressions characterized by transnational migration, an emphasis on oral tradition as the repository of cultural history, and linguistic and cultural hybridity.

This Spot of Ground contributes new information to the study of Caribbean religion and culture in the diaspora, providing a detailed examination of the significance of religion in the immigration process and identity and community formations of Caribbean people in Canada.

Reviews

``This excellent, thorough, and very accessible study of Toronto's Spiritual Baptists examines the religious and secular lives of Caribbean primarily female immigrants to Toronto, who came to Canada mostly as domestic workers after 1975.... This Spot of Ground adds immeasurably to the feminist study of religion, an area that has been in the past often ignored.... This fascinating and sensitive book provides the missing material to illuminate how these women not only survived, but managed to surmount immigration experiences that were hard, discriminatory, and potentially soul destroying.''

- Johanna Stuckey, Canadian Woman Studies

``This is a compelling and interesting new ethnography that will be useful in courses on urban religion, sociology and anthropology of religion, and migration studies. Recommended.''

- A.F. Galvez, CHOICE, February 2009

``Carol Duncan's...stated goal was to produce a ‘speakerly’ book (15), and she does an outstanding job of capturing the subtleties of West Indian speech patterns.... Duncan explores ways in which church members experience racism in their daily lives and provides an insightful overview of multiculturalism in Canada. Judiciously selected quotations give a feel for Spiritual Baptist perceptions of race and racism in Canada (which seems to take milder forms than in the United States). Duncan's book is exceptionally well-organized and as—as befits its title—covers a great deal of ground.... This Spot of Ground contributes new and useful information on the study of Caribbean religions and cultures, provides a much needed, detailed examination of the significance of migrant religions, and deftly charts the formation of identity and community among Caribbean people abroad. Highly recommended.''

- Stephen D. Glazier, Nova Religio

``This Spot of Ground is a groundbreaking study.... [In it] Duncan has employed a range of methodological approaches in order to provide a compelling religio-cultural account of the Spiritual Baptists in Toronto. Of particular import is the presence of the narrative voice of the research subjects at the heart of the book.... [It] deserves to become an essential resource, in the first instance, for all religious scholars who profess some interest in Diasporan African religions, particularly those that are Caribbean in origin.''

- Anthony G. Reddie, Black Theology: An International Journal, Vol. 7, #3, 2009

``The book's critical ethnography includes participant-observation of regular activities of two Toronto churches, including worship, social events, and pilgrimages, as well as in-depth interviews with leaders and lay members in Toronto and leaders in Trinidad. This approach highlights continuities and differences between the religion as practised in Canada and in the Caribbean. Duncan also incorporates her own experiences: of immigrating as a child, first to Britain and then to Canada; of growing up in Caribbean-Canadian communities in Toronto; and of correspondence with relatives, such as her grandmother, who continued to live in the Caribbean. These varied methods allow the author to convey Spiritual Baptists' life-worlds in detailed and textured ways.... In exploring different meanings and articulations of mothering within Spiritual Baptist communities, Duncan also demonstrates strong links between federal domestic worker schemes and stereotypes with which her participants continue to struggle.... Duncan argues that Spiritual Baptist women continue a historical tradition of valuing multiple types of mothering practices. This reclaiming of maternal identities broadly devalued within broader Canadian culture extends to rehabilitating the raced and gendered Mammy stereotype of Aunt Jemima. Duncan's thoughtful exploration of her own resistance to recognizing the importance of the figure within the spiritual lives of some of her participants is poignant and provocative. Aunty Jemima's seemingly unlikely presence demonstrates powerfully that the Spiritual Baptist faith is inherently dynamic, grounded in the life experiences of its members, who readily adapt it to meet their needs.''

- Laurel Zwissler, University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 79, Number 1, Winter 2010