Accepted paper:

The second diaspora of race: Afro-Cuban religiosity beyond some historical facts.

Authors:

Anastasios Panagiotopoulos (CRIA-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Paper short abstract:

Communication with spirits perceived as "Africans" or "blacks" occurs in Afro-Cuban religious practice so as to effect a second diaspora to the very categories of "ethnicity" and "race", especially in their historically constructed racist dimensions.

Paper long abstract:

Intense and intimate communication with spirits perceived as "Africans" or "blacks" occurs in Afro-Cuban religious practice so as to effect a second kind of diaspora (in the Greek sense of dispersal) to the very categories of "ethnicity" and "race", especially in their historically constructed racist dimensions. Engaging with Frantz Fanon's notion of "blackening", as a kind of negative ontology, the ethnography of communication with "African" and "black" spirits shows how race has historically been a vital ingredient to an experience imbued with racism. Instead of spirits being the focus of mediation (between a sacred and a profane world), and in this case, between the past and present of race and racism, the reverse is at stake. Race becomes the mediator for the spirits' and humans' biographical mobility and oracular articulation, out of a previous static and inarticulate condition; race being an important factor for such stasis. More theoretically speaking, the paper offers a critical reading to rigid distinctions between "ontology" and "representation" and shows how one may transfrom into another.

panel P102
Divine mobilities: how gods and spirits move through the world