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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access February 13, 2019

Mediating the Sacred between Junkanoo and the Church in Contemporary Bahamian Society

  • Carlton J. Turner EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies


It can be argued that theology in the Caribbean has, until recently, been reticent in engaging cultural studies, and particularly in using African Caribbean religiocultural heritages and art-forms such as carnival, reggae, stickfigting, Obeah and Myal, as examples, as sites for theological reflection. Undergirding this reticence is a colonially inherited belief in a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular; between the church and culture; and consequently, between theology and the social sciences. This paper argues that despite popular mis-conceptions, Junkanoo, a mainly Anglophone Caribbean street festival fundamental to Bahamian identity, has always functioned as a new and liberative way of doing theology in that context. Its complex relationship with the church deeply challenges concepts of sacredness, secularity, profanity, and idolatry as they are lived out in contemporary Bahamian life. This insight is important not only for theological research and discourse, but also for cultural studies and various forms of social research, since accessing the dynamic truths of such African Caribbean religiocultural productions and experiences require such an interdisciplinary approach.


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Received: 2018-04-30
Accepted: 2018-11-02
Published Online: 2019-02-13
Published in Print: 2019-02-01

© by Carlton J. Turner, published by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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