J. Matory
  • J. Matory

  • Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology
  • 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”     

  • Education

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

    • James Marsh Professorship-at-Large. University of Vermont., 2013
    • Alexander von Humboldt Prize, 2013. Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Foreign Ministry, Federal Republic of Germany., 2013
    • Distinguished Alumni Award, The Maret School, Washington, DC, 2013. The Maret School, Washington, DC., 2013
    • Humboldt Research Fellowship. Unknown., 2012
    • Distinguished Africana Award. University of North Carolina, Charlotte., 2012
    • Distinguished Africanist Award. American Anthropological Association, Association for Africanist Anthropology., 2010
    • Thomas Langford Lectureship Award. Duke University., 2010
    • Favorite Professors of the Harvard College Class of 2009.. Harvard Yearbook., 2009
    • Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures. University of Rochester., 2008
    • Outstanding Africana Service Award. African-New World Studies, Florida International University., 2008
    • S. Allen Counter Award for Excellence in Faculty and Administration. Association of Black Harvard Women., 2006
    • Dr. Brandon Fradd Research Fund. ?., 2006
    • Melville J. Herskovits Prize. African Studies Association., 2006
    • Fellowships for University Teachers. National Endowment for the Humanities., 1995
    • W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship for Afro-American Research. W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute, Harvard University., 1992
    • Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Anthropology. Princeton University., 1991
    • Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship. Williams College, Univesity of Chicago., 1990
    • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. U.S. Department of Education., 1988
    • International Studies Fellowship. Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) ., 1987
    • CIC International Studies Fellowship. Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)., 1986
    • Roy D. Albert Prize for Excellence in the Graduate Study of Anthropology. University of Chicago., 1986
    • National Science Foundation Fellowship. National Science Foundation., 1985
    • CIC Graduate Fellowship for Minorities. Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)., 1984
    • Danforth-Compton Fellowship for Graduate Study. University of Chicago., 1984
    • Rotary Scholarship for Graduate Study Abroad. Rotrary Foundation ., 1982
  • Professional Activities

    • Presentation
      • FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF LECTURES SEE THE "CURRENT CV" ATTACHED TO THIS WEBPAGE. January 1, 2020
      • "Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America". "The State of Things". WUNC, Public Radio Station of UNC-Chapel Hill. May 12, 2016
      • Discussion of "Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: European Social Theory and the Real-Life 'Fetish'". Faculty Seminar, 6 May 2015. Department of Comparative Studies and the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective. May 6, 2016
      • Black Anthropology: between Continents, between Disciplines, between Media. Interdisciplinary Scholars Lecture Series. University Scholars Program. February 3, 2016
      • Marx, Freud, and the the Man-made Gods of the Yoruba-Atlantic: European Social Theory and the Real-Life "Fetish". Third Annual Oyekan Owomoyela Yoruba Studies Lecture. March 13, 2015
      • The Black Body under Contestation in Brazil. Global Brazil Conference, Panel on "Expressive Cultures/Global Flows: Histories and Bodies in Flux. Brazil Initiative. February 27, 2015
      • Media Stereotypes and Double Consciousness: Telling Your Own Unheard Stories. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program. December 14, 2014
      • Stigma and Culture: Ethnological Schadenfreude and Last-Place Anxiety in Black America. African Studies Centre. November 25, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: European Social Theory and the Real-Life "Fetish". Seminar of the "Currents of Faith, Places of History" Joint Research Programme of the Humanities in the European Research Network. November 24, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: European Social Theory and the Real-Life "Fetish. History Department. November 20, 2014
      • Discussion of "Marx, Freud, and the Man-Made Gods of the Black Atlantic. Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology and Department of the Study of Religion. November 14, 2014
      • Stigma and Culture: Ethnological Schadenfreude and Last-Place Anxiety in Black America. Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology and Department of the Study of Religion. November 13, 2014
      • Fogo no Ceu: O Significado Augusto das Artes Sagradas de Xango em Nigeria, Cuba, e Brasil/Fire in the Sky: the Meaning and the Majesty of Shango's Sacred Arts in Nigeria, Cuba, and Brazil (a bi-lingual lecture). Forum-Brasil. November 8, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: the "Fetish" in the Making and the Critique of European Theory. Institut fuer Ethnologie. November 6, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: the Lessons of the Real-Life "Fetish" for European Theory. Colloquium on African Art. Art History Institute. October 28, 2014
      • Theorizing "Culture" between Spaces: the Afro-Atlantic Example. Keynote Address at the International Research Training Group "Between Spaces". A Collaboration between the Freie Universitaet Berlin and the Colegio de Mexico. September 3, 2014
      • Fuego en el Cielo: el significado augusto de las artes sagradas de Chango en Nigeria, Cuba y Brasil. Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba. July 10, 2014
      • Hegel, Marx y los dioses que hacen los hombres en el Atlantico negro (el verdadero "fetiche" no visto por la teoria social europea. Keynote Address at the Cologuio Internacional: el Caribe que Nos Une at the Festival del Caribe. Casa del Caribe. July 7, 2014
      • La idea de la religion afro-atlantica (Keynote Address). Curso Taller Internacional de Religiosidad Popular at the Festival de Caribe. Casa del Caribe. July 4, 2014
      • The Black Atlantic from a Decolonial Perspective--A Conversation with J. Lorand Matory. Fachschaftinitiative des Lateinamerika-Insituts. Freie Universitaet Berlin. June 24, 2014
      • "Ask Me No Questions": Embodied Knowledge and Ethnographic Objectivism. Lateinamerika-Institut. June 23, 2014
      • Fire in the Sky: the Meaning and the Majesty of Shango's Sacred Arts in Nigeria, Cuba, and Brazil. Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Wissenschaft. June 19, 2014
      • Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety and Ethnological Schadenfreude in Black America. Institut fuer Ethnologie. May 6, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make: the Lessons of the Real-Life "Fetish" for European Theory. James Marsh Professor-at-Large Inaugural Lecture. University of Vermont. April 14, 2014
      • Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America. Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology and the Forum for African Studies. February 27, 2014
      • Marx, Freud, and the Gods People Make in West Africa: the Lessons of the Real-Life "Fetish" for European Theory. Research Seminar in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology. Stockholm University. February 26, 2014
      • The African Gods of Latin America: the Real-Life "Fetish" in the Making, and the Critique, of European Theory. Humboldt Prize Honorary Lecture. Lateinamerika-Institut. February 11, 2014
      • I Am the Other: Alienation, Empathy and Anthropology". Distinguished Alumni Lecture. The Maret School. November 20, 2013
      • Becoming an Anthropologist. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program, Duke University. August 16, 2013
      • Fire in the Sky: the Meaning and Majesty of Shango's Sacred Arts in Nigeria, Cuba and Brazil. Keynote Address at the Annual Shango Festival. Oytounji Village. July 27, 2013
      • Black Studies: Choices, Challenges and Triumphs. Division of the Humanities and Arts and the Black Studies Program. April 22, 2013
      • The 'Fetish' in Real Time: On the Positionality of Theory, or Value at the Crossroads.. Roy A. Rappaport Distinguished Lecture in the Anthropology of Religion. Society for the Anthropology of Religion, Biennial Meeting. April 13, 2013
      • Stigma and Culture: Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America. Plenary Lecture at "Remapping the Black Atlantic: Diaspora (Re)Writings of Race and Space, an International Conference. DePaul University. April 12, 2013
      • Interwoven Histories: Luxury Cloths of Atlantic Africa. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program. January 26, 2013
      • Interwoven Histories: Luxury Cloths of Atlantic Africa. Gallery Talk. Lilly Library. November 27, 2012
      • “Global Migrations and the Crisis of Identity in Black America”. Bertha Maxwell-Roddy Distinguished Africana Lecture. University of North Carolina at Charlotte. October 15, 2012
      • “Putting American Slavery and Freedom in Their Place: A Cross-Cultural Perspective”. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program, Duke University. August 17, 2012
      • “Popular Democracy and Racial Dictatorship: 19th-Century US Slavery in Historical Perspective”. Keynote and Inaugural Address of the yearlong program. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program. August 13, 2012
      • “Survival/Creolization/Dialogue: How Tropes Remake the African Diaspora” (2012). Keynote Address to the “Crossroads of the World: Transatlantic Interrelations in the Caribbean. Keynote Address to the "Crossroads of the World: Transatlantic Interrelations in the Caribbean" Conference. July 2, 2012
      • “The Black Atlantic: A Translocal Civilization”. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program. May 12, 2012
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Ethnicity, Class Identity, and Shame in Black America. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Duke University. November 8, 2011
      • I Am the Other: the Making of an Anthropologist. Chatauqua: a Faculty Lecture Series for First-Years. November 7, 2011
      • On the 'Fetish' the Black Atlantic Making of Gods and Men. Provost's Lecture. April 21, 2011
      • Yoruba-Atlantic Ethnicity: ON the Essential Indeterminacy of Ethnic Boundaries. Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on Ethnicity in Africa. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. April 2, 2011
      • Sacred Double Consciousness: the Signs of Citizenship and of Spirit Possession in the Afro-Atlantic World. Distinguished Lecture. Association for Africanist Anthropology, American Anthropological Association. November 19, 2010
      • Do Affluent Black Kids Feel They Have to Act 'Ghetto'? Do Poor White Kids Just Want to Disappear?. Center for Race Relations. October 28, 2010
      • Trends and Prospects in African and African-Diaspora Studies. A Public Forum on "The Future of Africana Studies". University of Virginia. October 21, 2010
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Ethnicity and Shame in the Global Black Bourgeoisie. Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften. October 14, 2010
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Ethnicity, Hope and Shame in the Global Black Bourgeoisie. September 27, 2010
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hopes of the Global Black Bourgeoisie. Provost's Office, Duke University. September 27, 2010
      • Learning from Embarrassment: On Being an Africanist Anthropologist. "Down to Earth: Making Community Connections" Series. Center for Multicultural Affairs, Duke University. September 8, 2010
      • The Plantation Cross-Culturally: the Questions Scholars Ask, and How We Try to Answer Them. Annual Keynote and Inaugural Address. John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program, Duke University. July 10, 2010
      • A Diaspora Africana--na Teoria e na Pratica. Keynote Address at "A circulacao de Objetos, Corpos e Espritos: Processos de Ojbectivacao e Subectivacao nos Movimentos Religiosos entre Africa e as Americas. Centro em Rede de Investigacao em Antropologia--Nucleo de Antropologia da Religiao and Instituto de Ciencias Sociais. June 25, 2010
      • Free to Be a Slave: Slavery as a Metaphor in the Afro-Atlantic Religions. Keynote Address to conference on "States of Freedom, Freedom of States". University of the West Indies. June 16, 2010
      • Anthropology, Aspiration, and Poety. Commencement Address. W. G. Pearson GT Magnet Elementary School. June 10, 2010
      • Eniitan: 'Children of History'. Address to the Class of 2010. Department of African and African American Studies. May 14, 2010
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hopes of the Global Black Bourgeoisie. Annual Langford Lectureship. Provost's Office, Duke University. March 16, 2010
      • Three Questions about Race. Keynote Address to the Common Ground Retreat. Center for Race Relations. February 26, 2010
      • Vodou and Other African-Inspired Religions. February 12, 2010
      • Vodou and Other African-Inspired Religions. Online Office Hours with J. Lorand Matory on African-Inspired Religions. Duke University. February 12, 2010
      • The Cultural Construction of Dis-ease and Healing: An Afro-Atlantic Perspective. Duke Clinical Research Institute. January 21, 2010
      • Possessed: People Are Not Always Who You Think They Are. Duke Durham School Days (a mini-immersion to promote the desire to attend college among eighth-graders). Office of Community Affairs, Duke University. October 16, 2009
      • Sacred Double Consciousness: the Signs of Citizenship and of Spirit Possession in the Afro-Atlantic World. Center for Black Diaspora, DePaul University. May 6, 2009
      • The African Diaspora: in Theory and in Practice. Keynote Address, African and African Diaspora Studies Workshop . Wesleyan University. April 24, 2009
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hidden Social Curriculum of the University. Program in African and African-American Studies. February 26, 2009
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hidden Social Curriculum of the University. February 19, 2009
      • Of the Race but above the Race: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hidden Social Curriculum of the University. African and African-American Studies Program and Department of Anthropology/Sociology. February 19, 2009
      • Contemporary Challenges to Afro-Brazilian Religions. Brazil Studies Program, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard Universitiy. February 12, 2009
      • The African Diaspora in Theory and in Practice. Series on "Power and the Black Experience". School of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. February 11, 2009
      • The Other African Americans: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity, and the Hidden Curriculum of the University. The Americas Series (Distinguished Scholars of Race in the Americas). Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and Program in American Studies, Indiana University. January 22, 2009
    • Service to the Profession
      • Chair : Committee in the M.A. in the Humanities Program. November 24, 2013
      • Curator : Public Education. Exhibition of African Luxury Cloths. November 24, 2013
      • member : State Department Cultural Property Advisory Committee. March 24, 2012
      • Discussant of scholarly papers : Center for Middle Eastern Studies Alumni Reunion. January 15, 2009
      • Executive Director : Community Outreach. 2009
      • Discussant of scholarly papers : Panel at the American Anthropological Association meetings. November 22, 2008
      • Discussant of scholarly papers : Panel at the American Anthropological Association meetings. November 19, 2008
      • Panelist : Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. September 11, 2008
      • Committee-member and Discussion-leader : Freshman Dean's Office. September 9, 2008
      • Chair and Organizer : Afro-Atlantic Religions Lecture and Film Series. January 15, 2008
    • Service to the University
      • Africa Initiative. November 30, 2012
      • AAAS Department Tenure Committee. February 17, 2012
      • CAAAR Fall 2011 Lecture Series. February 17, 2012
      • Organizer. Curriculum Innovations. November 22, 2011 - November 22, 2011
      • Tenure and Promotion Committee. June 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011
      • Title IX Harassment and Adjudication Advisory Comm.. March 24, 2011 - July 1, 2013
      • Africa Initiative Steering Committee. March 24, 2011
      • Department of Cultural Anthropology. October 1, 2010
      • Department of African and African American Studies. July 1, 2009 - July 1, 2010
      • Director. Center for African and African American Research. July 1, 2009
      • Chair, Department of African and African American Studies. January 15, 2009
    • Outreach
      • Association of Black Harvard Women. Faculty Adviser. January 15, 2008
  • Selected Publications

  • Selected Grants

    • Doctoral Dissertation Research: Piety in Progress: Video Filmmaking and Religious Encounter in Benin 2014 - 2016
    • Crafting Freedom 2012 - 2013