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The Divine Eye and the DiasporaVietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism$
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Janet Alison Hoskins

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840044

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840044.001.0001

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A Religion in Diaspora, a Religion of Diaspora

A Religion in Diaspora, a Religion of Diaspora

(p.217) Chapter 7 A Religion in Diaspora, a Religion of Diaspora
The Divine Eye and the Diaspora

Janet Alison Hoskins

University of Hawai'i Press

The final chapter examines how the syncretism of the colonial period has been transformed by the experience of exile into a diasporic formation. In 1975, Caodaism was a “religion in diaspora”—a group of refugees, “victims of an unpopular war,” dispossessed—and their displacement was seen as a tragic event. In the past forty years, however, it has come to be perceived as part of a larger plan to create a “religion of diaspora,” taking advantage of multiple locations around the world, using this as a spatial resource, elaborating a “global faith of unity.” The story of Caodaism forces us to reconsider how anthropologists study religious mixtures in postcolonial settings, since it may reveal and challenge the “unconscious Eurocentrism” of our own notions of how religions are bounded and conceptualized.

Keywords:   syncretism and diaspora, postcolonial theory, the anthropology of religion, the “Christianity” of anthropology, Eurocentrism

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