This article assesses the empirical and conceptual contributions of J. Lorand Matory's Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism, and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé (BAR) and of his first monograph, Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Ọyọ-Yoruba Religion. The bearing of these texts on subsequent research in Afro-diasporic traditions is explored through an autoethnographic account that emphasizes the demand for a post-Eliadean style of comparativism, the disciplining function of the university, and social positionality as a condition for influence to manifest. The combination of these factors supports Matory's thesis in the present issue of this journal concerning the interplay of biography and belonging in the critical reception of BAR. The article concludes by asserting the inadequacy of debt (along with other economic metaphors) for the expression of intellectual impact, and casts the act of criticism as externalizing an intimate internal dialogical process.

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