Philosophers have contemplated the meaning of life, the who and the why, since nascent self-consciousness of the evolving hominid species. Yet practical efforts, i.e., control of life, have always transcended the philosophical: how to dominate what happens to the physical body itself, how to control the environment, and the interaction therefrom. Thus are born rites, rituals & religions. A rite can be a prescribed religious or other solemn ceremony or act it can be a social custom or practice, or even a mundane conventional act. A ritual can be the established form for a ceremony, the order of words used for example; a ritual observance can be either a system of ceremonial acts or actions, or an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner. Religion generally encompasses a socio-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements. Religion is a set of beliefs, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances (rites and rituals). Control efforts highlighted in this volume range from prehistoric cave paintings, Amerindian ceremonies, Christian denominational (especially Roman Catholic), traditions & Afro-Caribbean syncretic rites, to crossovers, which deal with the more socio-cultural rites of passage like the quinceanera, and/or dance rites & rituals like the Southern Cone tango, African candombe, Cuban habanera and European waltzes and polkas and the corrida, from the public ritual known as tauromaquia. The premise behind this comparative volume is to discover how rites, rituals & religions are addressed in real life in these divergent societies by exploring the visual and literary representations of control. Rites, Rituals and Religions is eighth and final volume in the Hispanic Worlds series.
The Editor, Dr. Debra D. Andrist, retired Professor of Spanish/formerly founding Chair of Foreign Languages (at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX) was formerly Chair/Cullen Professor at University of St. Thomas/Houston and formerly Associate Professor at Baylor University, Waco, TX . Her scholarly work focuses on art and literature by and about women and medical topics.
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