J. Lorand Matory
  • J. Lorand Matory

  • Professor
  • African & African American Studies
  • 201C Friedl Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Campus Box 900091
  • Phone: (919) 684-9923
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • Office Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday - 2:00-3:00pm
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Overview

    Specialties

    Anthropology & History, Africa, African Diaspora, Transnationalism

    Research Summary

    Anthropology of religion, of ethnicity, and of education; history and theory of anthropology; African and African-inspired religions around the Atlantic perimeter; ethnic diversity in the African-descended population of the US; tertiary education as a culture; gender, religion and politics; transnationalism; spirit possession

    Research Description

    J. Lorand Matory is the Director of the Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic Project and the Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. For six years, from 2009 until 2015, he also directed the University's Center for African and African American Research.  Professor Matory conducts field research in Brazil, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica and the US. Choice magazine named his Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion an Outstanding Book of the Year in 1994, and his Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé received the Herskovits Prize for the best book of 2005 from the African Studies Association. His forthcoming research on ethnic diversity at historically black Howard University was the subject of the 2008 Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures and will be published by the University of Chicago Press as Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America. In 2013, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded him the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, a lifetime achievement award that is one of Europe's highest academic distinctions.

    Current Projects

    Of the Race but above the Race: Stigma and the Schooling of Ethnic Identity in the "Mecca" of Black Education

    Areas of Interest

    spirit possession
    African religions
    African-diaspora religions
    Afro-Atlantic religions
    gender
    transnationalism
    African culture in the Americas
    religion and politics

    Media Appearances

    Vodou and Other African Religions

    Vodou and Other African-Inspired Religions

    Vodou and Other African-Inspired Religions

    Lucumi Music: Singing, Dancing and Drumming Black Divnity

    "Global Affirmative Action in a Neoliberal Age"

     “Can We Talk?: Bridges between the Humanities and the Social Sciences”

     “Human Traffic: Past and Present”     

  • Specialties

    • Anthropology & History
    • Africa
    • African Diaspora
    • Transnationalism
  • Research Summary

    Anthropology of religion, of ethnicity, and of education; history and theory of anthropologyAfrican and African-inspired religions around the Atlantic perimeter; ethnic diversity in the African-descended population of the US; tertiary education as a culture; gender, religion and politics; transnationalism; spirit possession
  • Research Description

    J. Lorand Matory is the Director of the Center for African and African American Research and Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He conducts field research in Brazil, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica and the US. Choice magazine named his Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion an Outstanding Book of the Year in 1994, and his Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé received the Herskovits Prize for the best book of 2005 from the African Studies Association. His forthcoming research on ethnic diversity at historically black Howard University was the subject of the 2008 Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures and will be published by the University of Chicago Press as Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America. In 2013, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded him the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, a lifetime achievement award that is one of Europe's highest academic distinctions.
  • Current Projects

    Of the Race but above the Race: Stigma and the Schooling of Ethnic Identity in the "Mecca" of Black Education
  • Areas of Interest

    spirit possession
    African religions
    African-diaspora religions
    Afro-Atlantic religions
    gender
    transnationalism
    African culture in the Americas
    religion and politics
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • University of Chicago,
      • 1991
      • M.A.,
      • University of Chicago,
      • 1986
      • B.A.,
      • Harvard University,
      • 1982
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • James Marsh Professorship-at-Large,
      • University of Vermont,
      • 2013-2019
      • Alexander von Humboldt Prize, 2013,
      • Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Foreign Ministry, Federal Republic of Germany,
      • June, 2013
      • Distinguished Alumni Award, The Maret School, Washington, DC, 2013,
      • The Maret School, Washington, DC,
      • January 2013
      • Humboldt Research Fellowship,
      • Unknown,
      • November 2012
      • Distinguished Africana Award,
      • University of North Carolina - Charlotte,
      • October, 2012
      • Distinguished Africanist Award,
      • American Anthropological Association, Association for Africanist Anthropology,
      • November, 2010
      • Thomas Langford Lectureship Award,
      • Duke University,
      • March, 2010
      • "Favorite Professors of the Harvard College Class of 2009.",
      • Harvard Yearbook,
      • May 2009
      • Favorite Professors of the Harvard College Class of 2009.,
      • Harvard Yearbook,
      • May 2009
      • Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures,
      • University of Rochester,
      • October 2008
      • Outstanding Africana Service Award,
      • African-New World Studies, Florida International University,
      • March, 2008
      • S. Allen Counter Award for Excellence in Faculty and Administration,
      • Association of Black Harvard Women,
      • April, 2006
      • Dr. Brandon Fradd Research Fund,
      • -,
      • January 2006
      • Melville J. Herskovits Prize,
      • African Studies Association,
      • November, 2006
      • Spencer Foundation Major Grant,
      • Spencer Foundation, Chicago,
      • January 2006
      • Fellowships for University Teachers,
      • National Endowment for the Humanities,
      • January 1995
      • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers for overseas archival research and writing on Afro-Brazilian religion and politics,
      • 1995-1996
      • Social Science Research Council Grant for Field Research in Bahia and São Paulo, Brazil,
      • February-September, 1992
      • W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship for Afro-American Research,
      • W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, Harvard University,
      • January 1992
      • W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship for Afro-American Research for the support of field research and writing on Afro-Brazilian culture,
      • January-December, 1992
      • Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Anthropology,
      • Princeton University,
      • January 1991
      • Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Anthropology, Princeton University,
      • 1991
      • Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship,
      • Williams College, Univesity of Chicago,
      • January 1990
      • Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship for teaching and dissertation write-up, Williams College,
      • 1990
      • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship,
      • U.S. Department of Education,
      • January 1988
      • Fulbright-Hays (Dept. of Education) Fellowship for pre-dissertation research--Nigeria,
      • 1988-1989
      • Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) International Studies Fellowship, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Brazil,
      • August-December, 1987
      • International Studies Fellowship,
      • Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC),
      • January 1987
      • CIC International Studies Fellowship,
      • Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC),
      • January 1986
      • Roy D. Albert Prize for Excellence in the Graduate Study of Anthropology,
      • University of Chicago,
      • January 1986
      • CIC International Studies Fellowship, Nigeria,
      • Summer 1986
      • Roy D. Albert Prize for Excellence in the Graduate Study of Anthropology, University of Chicago,
      • 1986
      • National Science Foundation Fellowship,
      • National Science Foundation,
      • January 1985
      • National Science Foundation Fellowship for Graduate Study, University of Chicago,
      • 1985-1989
      • CIC Graduate Fellowship for Minorities,
      • Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC),
      • January 1984
      • Danforth-Compton Fellowship for Graduate Study,
      • University of Chicago,
      • 1984-1991
      • CIC Graduate Fellowship for Minorities, University of Chicago,
      • 1984-1985
      • Rotary Scholarship for Graduate Study Abroad,
      • Rotrary Foundation,
      • January 1982
      • Rotary Scholarship for Graduate Study Abroad, Nigeria,
      • 1982-1983
  • Recent Publications

      • JL Matory.
      • (2016).
      • One Duke Professor's Trayvon Martin Moment.
      • The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)
      • .
      • [web]
      • JL Matory.
      • (2016).
      • Afro-Atlantic Culture: On the Live Dialogue between Africa and the Americas, first edition.
      • In KA Appiah (Eds.),
      • Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, first edition
      • ,
      • (pp. 36-44).
      • Basic Civitas Books.
      Publication Description

      Africa is not to the black Americas as the past is to the present. Ongoing historical developments in Africa have continually influenced American cultural history, and, more surprisingly, ongoing historical developments in the Americas have continually influenced African history.

      • JL Matory.
      • (2015).
      • In-Depth Review--The Formation of Candomble: Vodun History and Ritual in Brazil, by Luis Nicolau Pares.
      • The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History
      • ,
      • 72
      • (04)
      • ,
      • 609-628.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Critical review of Pares's The Formation of Candomble. The ongoing interaction between African and African-diaspora populations explains much that is neglected in models of cultural "memory" and "forgetting."

      • JL Matory.
      • (2015).
      • Obituary: Elliot Percival Skinner (1924-2007).
      • AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST
      • ,
      • 111
      • (1)
      • ,
      • 127-130.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Obituary of the doyen of African-American anthropology, Franz Boas Professor Emeritus Elliot P. Skinner, of Columbia University.

      • JL Matory.
      • (2015).
      • Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomble.
      • Princeton University Press.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Black Atlantic Religion illuminates the mutual transformation of African and African-American cultures, highlighting the example of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion. This book contests both the recent conviction that transnationalism is new and the long-held supposition that African culture endures in the Americas only among the poorest and most isolated of black populations. In fact, African culture in the Americas has most flourished among the urban and the prosperous, who, through travel, commerce, and literacy, were well exposed to other cultures. Their embrace of African religion is less a "survival," or inert residue of the African past, than a strategic choice in their circum-Atlantic, multicultural world. With counterparts in Nigeria, the Benin Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, and the United States, Candomblé is a religion of spirit possession, dance, healing, and blood sacrifice. Most surprising to those who imagine Candomblé and other such religions as the products of anonymous folk memory is the fact that some of this religion's towering leaders and priests have been either well-traveled writers or merchants, whose stake in African-inspired religion was as much commercial as spiritual. Morever, they influenced Africa as much as Brazil. Thus, for centuries, Candomblé and its counterparts have stood at the crux of enormous transnational forces. Vividly combining history and ethnography, Matory spotlights a so-called "folk" religion defined not by its closure or internal homogeneity but by the diversity of its connections to classes and places often far away. Black Atlantic Religion sets a new standard for the study of transnationalism in its subaltern and often ancient manifestations.

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  • PhD Students

    • Brian Smithson
      • August, 2011 - present
    • Kwame Z. Shabazz
      • 2003
      • Thesis: All Africans Are Not Negroes
    • Megwen Loveless
      • 2000 - 2010
      • Thesis: Forro Music and Brazilian National Identity
  • Teaching

    • CULANTH 502S.01
      • THE UNIVERSITY AS A CULTURE
      • Friedl Bdg 240
      • M 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
    • AAAS 610S.01
      • AFRICA, CUBA, BRAZIL
      • Friedl Bdg 240
      • Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM