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    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

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Elina Hartikainen

Sasha photoPhD, Anthropology (socio-cultural and linguistic), University of Chicago

Room 228

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Tel +358-(0)2941 23480
Email elina.hartikainen (AT) helsinki.fi




Research interests

  • Violence
  • Gender
  • Race
  • African diasporic religion
  • Brazil

Current research

”Women of Peace": Violence, Gender, and African Diasporic Religion in Salvador, Brazil

Recently, Salvador, Brazil has become one of the most violent cities in the world. Similar to other urban contexts in Brazil, the majority of those killed have been poor, young black men. This ethnographic project examines how understandings of and efforts to respond to such escalating violence intersect with local understandings of race, gender and religion in Salvador. It approaches this question through a focus on practitioners of the African diasporic religion Candomblé. The confluence of raced and gendered understandings of Candomblé practitioners as the quintessential "Black Mothers" of the "racially and culturally mixed" Brazilian nation has led them to be seen by state actors as the ideal purveyors of peace to Salvador's violence-ridden, Afro-Brazilian neighborhoods. In practice, however, Candomblé practitioners' views on and engagements with violence are more complex. This study takes the oftentimes contradictory intersections between state and religious efforts to respond to and ameliorate violence as its primary focus. In so doing, it provides a novel perspective to the study of racialized violence in the Americas. In addition, it expands scholarly understandings of religious engagements with violence