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Accepted Paper:

Invisible collaborations: witchcraft and the generative space in Afro-Cuban religions  
Diana Espirito Santo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with a "collaborative" language (witchcraft) that jostles between three Afro-Cuban religious domains, producing controversies and tensions in their interstices, but ultimately power, religious subjectivity, and cosmology.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will explore three distinctly developed yet internally articulated religious domains of "African" inspiration in Cuba: Espiritismo, Palo Monte, and Santería. Practitioners move between them, availing themselves of the ritual know-how and perspectives of the spirits or gods that speak through each. The interstices between these "religions", however, negotiated as they are by experts, produce controversies, tensions and moral judgments that fuel (and are fuelled by) more radical changes of register. One of these is witchcraft. As the "collaborative" language between the "corners" of such practices, witchcraft both refracts and expands all manner of anxieties, often occulted, bringing together actors in space-times often without full complicity or knowledge. It is not simply a derivative of the spontaneity of relational practices in and between domains, but inherently shapes them. This means, among other things, that subjects (sorcerers and victims) experience a radical "othering" of themselves, both in terms of space-time and self-constitution; this, I argue, produces cosmology.

Panel P109
The radical in Latin America
  Session 1