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Maritime ‘Baptism’: Chaos and Ceremony in the Early Atlantic

Harrigan, Michael (2019) Maritime ‘Baptism’: Chaos and Ceremony in the Early Atlantic. French History, 33 (1). pp. 24-43. ISSN 0269-1191. (doi:10.1093/fh/crz010) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1093/fh/crz010

Abstract

Early modern ocean narratives frequently describe the ceremony of the baptême, a riotous collective practice which took place at the crossing of the Tropic of Cancer or the equator. Passengers and crew disguised themselves, imitated religious and mythological practices and gestures, swore to perpetuate the practice, and might even receive a new name. This maritime baptism sheds light on four aspects of early modern ceremony. Its practices cannot be readily assimilated to other popular festivities or ceremonial forms. It illustrates the value and limitations of critical paradigms of rite and ritual. There is also a tension between structural analytical models and the fluidity of maritime practices; these practices were further structured by a textual corpus. Ocean baptism, this article contends, was a ceremony that responded to the most fundamental upheavals in time and space, and may even have inspired a form of transcendence.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/fh/crz010
Uncontrolled keywords: Baptism, ceremony, ritual, rite, Atlantic
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > DC France
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > French
Depositing User: Michael Harrigan
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 12:58 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2020 10:04 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/80131 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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