J. Lorand Matory
  • J. Lorand Matory

  • Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Director, Center for African and African American Research
  • African & African American Studies
  • 201C Friedl Building
  • Campus Box 900091
  • Phone: (919) 684-9923
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • Office Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday - 2:00-3:00pm
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 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
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • James Marsh Professorship-at-Large,
      • University of Vermont,
      • 2013-2019
      • Alexander von Humboldt Prize, 2013,
      • June, 2013
      • Distinguished Alumni Award, The Maret School, Washington, DC, 2013,
      • 0 2013
      • 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
      • Outstanding Africana Service Award,
      • African-New World Studies, Florida International University,
      • March, 2008
      • Melville J. Herskovits Prize,
      • African Studies Association,
      • November, 2006
      • S. Allen Counter Award for Excellence in Faculty and Administration,
      • Association of Black Harvard Women,
      • April, 2006
      • Spencer Foundation Major Grant,
      • Spencer Foundation, Chicago,
      • January 2006
      • 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 for the support of field research and writing on Afro-Brazilian culture,
      • January-December, 1992
      • Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Anthropology, Princeton University,
      • 1991
      • Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship for teaching and dissertation write-up, Williams College,
      • 1990
      • 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
      • 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 for Graduate Study, University of Chicago,
      • 1985-1989
      • CIC Graduate Fellowship for Minorities, University of Chicago,
      • 1984-1985
      • Danforth-Compton Fellowship for Graduate Study,
      • 1984-1991
      • Rotary Scholarship for Graduate Study Abroad, Nigeria,
      • 1982-1983
  • Recent Publications

      • J.L. Matory.
      • (2014).
      • Religión Afro-Atlántica: Tradición, Trasnacionalismo y Matriarcado en el Candomblé Brasileño.
      • Santiago de Cuba, Cuba:
      • Editorial Oriente/Casa del Caribe.
      Publication Description

      Spanish-language translation of Black Atlantic Religion. The classical African-inspired religions of the Americas result not from the inert "survival " of African identities and practices predating the slave trade but from a circum-Atlantic "dialogue" among Africans, African Americans, European colonialists, white creoles, and culturally hybrid black trans-Atlantic travelers, who selectively canonized and revised their African-inspired religions in reaction to the politics of multiple African colonies and American nation-states.

      This book was solicited for translation and presentation as the featured book of the "Festival del Caribe" in July 2014 or 2015, hosted by the Casa del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba.

      • J.L. Matory.
      • (2014).
      • Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America.
      Publication Description

      The dialectical construction of "cultural" identities among Caribbean immigrants, African immigrants, Louisiana Creoles of color,Native Americans of African descent, Gullah-Geechees, and soi-disant "middle-class" African Americans in and around Howard University is a locus classicus for the hypothesis that stigma is a driving force behind ethnogenesis worldwide. As a world of the stigmatized and ambitious, the university is an important site of the articulation of "cultural" identities whereby discreditable populations endeavor to distinguish themselves from the main "constituent other"--in this case, ostensibly normative African Americans--in the social field that they share. I coin the term "ethnological Schadenfreude" to explain the a priori and logically concomitant representation of the constituent other as culturally inferior.

      The book has been revised following anonymous review and is scheduled for publication in 2014.

      • J. Lorand Matory.
      • (2014).
      • Affirmative Scapegoating.
      • .
      • [web]
      • J.L. Matory.
      • (2013).
      • The Homeward Ship: Analytic Tropes as Maps of and for African-Diaspora Cultural History".
      • The University of Wiconsin Press.
      • [web]
      • J.L. Matory.
      • (2013).
      • "Global Affirmative Action in a Neoliberal Age".
      • .
      Publication Description

      In a half-dozen countries around the world, affirmative action and its counterparts have been prompted by diverse circumstances, taken diverse forms,encountered diverse forms of resistance, and had diverse outcomes. While its implementation is increasingly challenges in the US, it is being implemented with increasing frequency and intensity in many countries, and often with a broader and more radical set of goals.

      I was the Executive Producer of this latest CAAAR production. I reviewed the transcripts of our fall 2012 scholarly conference, distilled the central themes, researched affirmative action-related news, constructed the story line and worked with the Director in coordinating a team of professors, researchers, editors and cinematographers. The film integrates footage of scholar interviews with real-world footage of the people and populations affected. This is a painstaking and original scholarly intervention, in every way equivalent to a publication.

  • View All Publications
  • 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