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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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“Outrageous Syncretism”?

(p.1) Introduction
The Divine Eye and the Diaspora

Janet Alison Hoskins

University of Hawai'i Press

The Divine Eye and the Diaspora addresses the connection between colonial era syncretism and postcolonial diaspora. Caodaism was described by the French as a syncrétisme à l’outrance, an excessive, even transgressive mixture of different elements that was outrageous in its audacious combinations. My analysis picks apart the conceptual framework for these claims, looking at how Caodaism, as an explicit form of syncretism, restructures the religious field (using Bourdieu’s term). Caodaism was perceived as trespassing by crossing the border into other religions, as well as crossing the border between religion and politics. The form of syncretism developed by colonized intellectuals was idiosyncratic: I profile five different religious leaders from the founding generation, and look at their legacy through the lives of five disciples in 21st century California.

Keywords:   syncretism, religious field of practice, tourism, anthropology of religion, colonialism

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