|A botanica shop, similar to many, in the city of Tampa, Florida.|
Picture courtesy of google maps.
A couple of years ago I put together a small exploratory research project on botánica shops in Tampa, Florida with a colleague and friend who was also at the University of South Florida at the time. Botánicas are small shops found in many cities across the US that cater to a mostly Latin American and Caribbean immigrant population. They sell a variety of herbal and other products, and often provide services related to one of many Latin American/Caribbean medico-religious traditions like Curanderismo, Santeria, and espiritismo. Well it took a while, but I finally got a paper based on the research published. It just came out in the latest issue of vis-à-vis: Explorations in Anthropology, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal out of the University of Toronto. The abstract:
Botánicas are shops found in most major U.S. cities with a Latino population that carry products and provide services that are essential elements of alternative medico-religious systems that originated in Latin America and the Caribbean. This paper briefly examines the ways in which immigrants in the U.S. utilize traditional or alternative systems of healing, often – and even usually – as a complement to biomedicine. It then summarizes the small amount of literature on botánicas and the role they play in immigrant health in the U.S. This is followed by a discussion of an exploratory research project on botánicas in Tampa, FL, where a number of botánica shops are found in various neighborhoods in the city. A basic description of the shops and interviews with shop owners are presented, followed by a discussion on the potential significance of the geographic location of two particular groups of botánicas is explored.Click 'continue reading" to see the full paper, or visit our Free Library for the link.
Immigrant Health Care Niches: Exploring the Role of Botánicas in Tampa, FL