Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion on 2019-07-12 17:30Z by Steven

Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Columbia University Press
March 2020
272 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780231194334
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231194327
E-book ISBN: 9780231550765

Solimar Otero, Professor of Folklore
Indiana University, Bloomington

Archives of Conjure

In Afrolatinx religious practices such as Cuban Espiritismo, Puerto Rican Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé, the dead tell stories. Communicating with and through mediums’ bodies, they give advice, make requests, and propose future rituals, creating a living archive that is coproduced by the dead. In this book, Solimar Otero explores how Afrolatinx spirits guide collaborative spiritual-scholarly activist work through rituals and the creation of material culture. By examining spirit mediumship through a Caribbean cross-cultural poetics, she shows how divinities and ancestors serve as active agents in shaping the experiences of gender, sexuality, and race.

Otero argues that what she calls archives of conjure are produced through residual transcriptions or reverberations of the stories of the dead whose archives are stitched, beaded, smoked, and washed into official and unofficial repositories. She investigates how sites like the ocean, rivers, and institutional archives create connected contexts for unlocking the spatial activation of residual transcriptions. Drawing on over ten years of archival research and fieldwork in Cuba, Otero centers the storytelling practices of Afrolatinx women and LGBTQ spiritual practitioners alongside Caribbean literature and performance. Archives of Conjure offers vital new perspectives on ephemerality, temporality, and material culture, unraveling undertheorized questions about how spirits shape communities of practice, ethnography, literature, and history and revealing the deeply connected nature of art, scholarship, and worship.

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Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-07-11 20:44Z by Steven

Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World

Boydell & Brewer
July 2010
260 pages
12 black and white illustrations
9×6 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781580464734
Hardback ISBN: 9781580463263
eBook for Handhelds ISBN: 9781580468190
eBook ISBN: 9781580467056

Solimar Otero, Professor of Folklore
Indiana University, Bloomington

A study of the interchange between Cuba and Africa of Yoruban people and culture during the nineteenth century, with special emphasis on the Aguda community.

Afro-Cuban Diasporas in the Atlantic World explores how Yoruba and Afro-Cuban communities moved across the Atlantic between the Americas and Africa in successive waves in the nineteenth century. In Havana, Yoruba slaves from Lagos banded together to buy their freedom and sail home to Nigeria. Once in Lagos, this Cuban repatriate community became known as the Aguda. This community built their own neighborhood that celebrated their Afrolatino heritage. For these Yoruba and Afro-Cuban diasporic populations, nostalgic constructions of family and community play the role of narrating and locating a longed-for home. By providing a link between the workings of nostalgia and the construction of home, this volume re-theorizes cultural imaginaries as a source for diasporic community reinvention. Through ethnographic fieldwork and research in folkloristics, Otero reveals that the Aguda identify strongly with their Afro-Cuban roots in contemporary times. Their fluid identity moves from Yoruba to Cuban, and back again, in a manner that illustrates the truly cyclical nature of transnational Atlantic community affiliation.

Table of Contents

  • Grassroots Africans: Havana’s “Lagosians”
  • Returning to Lagos: Making the Oja Home
  • “Second Diasporas”: Reception in the Bight of Benin
  • Situating Lagosian, Caribbean, and Latin American Diasporas
  • Creating Afrocubanos: Public Cultures in a Circum-Atlantic Perspective
  • Conclusion: Flow, Community, and Diaspora
  • Appendix: Case Studies of Returnees to Lagos from Havana, Cuba
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Cecilia Valdés or El Angel Hill: A Novel of Nineteenth-Century Cuba

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery, Women on 2019-04-04 19:19Z by Steven

Cecilia Valdés or El Angel Hill: A Novel of Nineteenth-Century Cuba

Oxford University Press
2005-09-29 (originally published in 1882)
544 Pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780195143959

Cirilo Villaverde (1812-1894)

Edited by:

Sibylle Fischer, Associate Professor of Spanish, Portuguese, and Comparative Literature
New York University

Translated by:

Helen Lane (1921-2004)

Cecilia Valdés is arguably the most important novel of 19th century Cuba. Originally published in New York City in 1882, Cirilo Villaverde’s novel has fascinated readers inside and outside Cuba since the late 19th century. In this new English translation, a vast landscape emerges of the moral, political, and sexual depravity caused by slavery and colonialism. Set in the Havana of the 1830s, the novel introduces us to Cecilia, a beautiful light-skinned mulatta, who is being pursued by the son of a Spanish slave trader, named Leonardo. Unbeknownst to the two, they are the children of the same father. Eventually Cecilia gives in to Leonardo’s advances; she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. When Leonardo, who gets bored with Cecilia after a while, agrees to marry a white upper class woman, Cecilia vows revenge. A mulatto friend and suitor of hers kills Leonardo, and Cecilia is thrown into prison as an accessory to the crime.

For the contemporary reader Helen Lane’s masterful translation of Cecilia Valdés opens a new window into the intricate problems of race relations in Cuba and the Caribbean. There are the elite social circles of European and New World Whites, the rich culture of the free people of color, the class to which Cecilia herself belonged, and then the slaves, divided among themselves between those who were born in Africa and those who were born in the New World, and those who worked on the sugar plantation and those who worked in the households of the rich people in Havana. Cecilia Valdés thus presents a vast portrait of sexual, social, and racial oppression, and the lived experience of Spanish colonialism in Cuba.

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I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-27 02:48Z by Steven

I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

The Conversation
2018-12-04

Jane Landers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


An archivist works with a document from Paraiba, Brazil. David Lafevor, CC BY-SA

Many years ago, as a graduate student searching in the archives of Spanish Florida, I discovered the first “underground railroad” of enslaved Africans escaping from Protestant Carolina to find religious sanctuary in Catholic Florida. In 1738, these runaways formed Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black settlement in what became the U.S.

The excitement of that discovery encouraged me to keep digging. After doing additional research in Spain, I followed the trail of the Mose villagers to Cuba, where they had emigrated when Great Britain acquired Florida. I found many of them in 18th-century church records in Havana, Matanzas, Regla, Guanabacoa and San Miguel del Padrón.

Today, those records and others live on in the Slave Societies Digital Archive. This archive, which I launched in 2003, now holds approximately 600,000 images dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Since its creation, the archive has led to new insights into African populations in the Americas

…Previously unknown church records for Havana’s black Brotherhood of St. Joseph the Carpenter document the membership of Jose Antonio Aponte, executed by Spanish officials in 1812 for leading an alleged slave conspiracy. Our records similarly document the marriage and death of another famed “conspirator” – the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, better known as Placido

Read the entire article here.

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Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Routledge
2018-09-04
358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2018-08-17 17:15Z by Steven

Mulata Nation: Visualizing Race and Gender in Cuba

University Press of Mississippi
2018-08-15
248 pages (approx.)
58 color illustrations
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496814432

Alison Fraunhar, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois

A vivid exploration of the key role played by multi-racial women in visualizing and performing Cuban identity

Repeatedly and powerfully throughout Cuban history, the mulata, a woman of mixed racial identity, features prominently in Cuban visual and performative culture. Tracing the figure, Alison Fraunhar looks at the representation and performance in both elite and popular culture. She also tracks how characteristics associated with these women have accrued across the Atlantic world. Widely understood to embody the bridge between European subject and African other, the mulata contains the sensuality attributed to Africans in a body more closely resembling the European ideal of beauty.

This symbol bears far-reaching implications, with shifting, contradictory cultural meanings in Cuba. Fraunhar explores these complex paradigms, how, why, and for whom the image was useful, and how it was both subverted and asserted from the colonial period to the present. From the early seventeenth century through Cuban independence in 1899 up to the late revolutionary era, Fraunhar illustrates the ambiguous figure’s role in nationhood, citizenship, and commercialism. She analyzes images including key examples of nineteenth-century graphic arts, avant-garde painting and magazine covers of the Republican era, cabaret and film performance, and contemporary iterations of gender.

Fraunhar’s study stands out for attending to the phenomenon of mulataje not only in elite production such as painting, but also in popular forms: popular theater, print culture, later films, and other media where stereotypes take hold. Indeed, in contemporary Cuba, mulataje remains a popular theme with Cubans as well as foreigners in drag shows, reflecting queerness in visual culture.

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We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home Across the Atlantic World

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-11-18 00:56Z by Steven

We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family’s Search for Home Across the Atlantic World

Oxford University Press
2014-12-01
224 Pages
32 illustrations
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780199978335

Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania

This colored Creole story offers a unique historical lens through which to understand the issues of migration, immigration, passing, identity, and color-forces that still shape American society today. We Are Who We Say We Are provides a detailed, nuanced account of shifting forms of racial identification within an extended familial network and constrained by law and social reality.

Author Mary Frances Berry, a well-known expert in the field, focuses on the complexity and malleability of racial meanings within the US over generations. Colored Creoles, similar to other immigrants and refugees, passed back and forth in the Atlantic world. Color was the cause and consequence for migration and identity, splitting the community between dark and light. Color could also split families. Louis Antoine Snaer, a free man of color and an officer in the Union Army who passed back and forth across the color line, had several brothers and sisters. Some chose to “pass” and some decided to remain “colored,” even though they too, could have passed. This rich global history, beginning in Europe–with episodes in Haiti, Cuba, Louisiana, and California–emphasizes the diversity of the Atlantic World experience.

Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter I: Becoming Colored Creole
  • Chapter II: Becoming Americans
  • Chapter III: Family Troubles
  • Chapter IV: Fighting for Democracy
  • Chapter V: Becoming “Negroes”
  • Chapter VI: Opportunity and Tragedy in Iberia Parish
  • Chapter VII: Mulattoes and Colored Creoles
  • Chapter VIII: Just Americans
  • Chapter IX: At Home or Away: We Are Who We Say We Are
  • Epilogue: Becoming “Black”
  • Notes
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Misty Copeland on Seeing So Many Brown Ballerinas in Cuba: “That Will Forever Stick With Me”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-12-26 21:03Z by Steven

Misty Copeland on Seeing So Many Brown Ballerinas in Cuba: “That Will Forever Stick With Me”

Remezcla
2016-12-22

Yara Simón, Trending Editor


Photo: Emily Jan/NPR

In the world of American ballet, Misty Copeland is the exception. As the first black woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland knows what it’s like to be one of the few women of color to break through. That’s why when President Barack Obama asked her to visit Cuba as part of a sports envoy program designed to further strengthen relations between the United States and the Caribbean nation, Misty felt struck by the number of brown bodies she saw at the prestigious Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

“Just the imagery of seeing a room full of Cuban women and men with brown skin, doing classical ballet, and it’s not even a question for them,” she told The Undefeated. “It’s like, ‘No, this is what we do and this is what we look like.’ That’s something that will forever stick with me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland En Pointe

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-12-26 17:30Z by Steven

Misty Copeland En Pointe

The Undefeated
2016-12-14

Kelley L. Carter, Senior Culture Writer

Photographs by Brent Lewis
Videos by Lois Nam, Senior Digital Producer

America’s most famous prima ballerina heads to Cuba to represent female athleticism. (Yes, athleticism.)

HAVANA, Cuba

Misty Copeland is at the barre.

She’s demonstrating a battement tendu to a group of ballerinas at a dance magnet school.

The dancers — all girls ages 15 to 17, all in black leotards, white tights and pointe shoes, and all with their hair pulled up into impeccable topknots — listen intently.

All eyes are focused on her. Copeland is speaking in English. The teen dancers only understand Spanish.

There is a language translator — Maria Luz Pereya, a former dancer herself, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina — and she offers at one point to bring a corded microphone toward Copeland and translate. Copeland quickly shakes her head, declining her assistance in this moment. This is, after all, Havana, the capital of Cuba, an island in the northern Caribbean where, as they say, the three languages spoken and understood by all are: Spanish, baseball and dance.

And Copeland, a groundbreaking ballerina — as well as author, and newlywed — who made history last year when she became the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history, happens to be fluent in the art of motion. “Sport and art and dance unify people,” Copeland said later, sitting on the rooftop of Havana’s The Saratoga — the same place Beyoncé and Jay Z spent their 2013 wedding anniversary. “It’s a language and a culture that people from everywhere, all over the world, can relate to, and understand, and come together for.”…

Misty Danielle Copeland got her start in ballet on the basketball court…

Read the entire article here.

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Colorism And Privilege: An Afro-Cuban American In Havana

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-11-25 00:30Z by Steven

Colorism And Privilege: An Afro-Cuban American In Havana

FEM: UCLA’s Feminist Newsmagazine Since 1973
2016-04-28

Graciela Barada

My father, born in Cuba at the end of Castro’s Revolution, migrated to the United States in 1980. He was a young, black, Spanish-speaking political refugee who left his wife and months-old daughter behind in hopes of building a better life for himself. A “Marielito,” my father braved the 115-mile stretch of the Caribbean sea to Florida under President Carter’s pardon of Cuban refugees. My mother is a white Spaniard who moved to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for graduate school at Georgetown University. An unlikely couple, my parents met at my father’s Cuban nightclub, a hub for Latino culture, music, and dance. Although my siblings and I were born and raised in the U.S., we have been fortunate enough to travel to our parents’ birth countries in order to familiarize ourselves with their respective cultures…

..In Cuba, the Communist Revolution is often portrayed as the “great equalizer,” not just economically but also in respect to race relations. In many ways, this has been true: people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have access to education, jobs, transportation, healthcare, and other social services. Regardless, there are traces of racial hierarchy and a colonialist mentality which are deeply entrenched in Cuban society. As far as I know, all of my Cuban relatives are black. The majority of them are dark-skinned; when asked, two of my male cousins expressed that they do not feel hated because of their African ancestry and darker pigmentation. Still, they are well-aware that their roles within society are informed by Cuba’s history of racial hierarchy and discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

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