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Chronicle of Lisbon’s Workshop on Afro-Cuban religion (4/20/2011)

By Grete Viddal, Conferences & CFPs, Religion Add comments

Grete Viddal presenting at the top of the table

I just returned from the 2nd Workshop on Afro-Cuban Religion held at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS) in Lisbon, Portugal. The theme for this meeting was “Creativity, improvisation and innovation in Afro-Cuban religion.” The event was organized by Ana Stela Cunha and Diana Espirito Santo, currently post-docs at the ICS and CRIA (Centre for Research in Social Anthropology), respectively.

A dozen scholars of Cuban religion gathered for two days to share work in progress, debate ideas, talk theory, practice, and participation, and network. Many participants were at the dissertation-writing stage or post-docs, and established scholars also attended. Discussants from ICS, Universidade de Lisboa, and Universidade Nova de Lisboa provided thoughtful feedback.

Participants included scholars from the US, Portugal, Spain, Cuba, Greece, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, and Colombia. We spoke in English and Spanish, sometimes switching between languages mid-sentence during Q & A.

The delights of Lisbon pulled us in during evenings, as we ate wonderful food and quaffed mojitos and caipirinas in a friendly, lively, bohemian city with picturesque neighborhoods and charming architecture.

Lia Pozzi, Andrea Antonelli, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Katerina Kerestetzi, Géraldine Morel, Diana Espirito Santo, and Jalane Schmidt in an Alafama neighborhood cafe

Panels included: (see below)

Identidad y creatividad / Identity and creativity
• Grete Viddal, Harvard University “From el campo to la ciudad: the evolution of Haitian Vodú in Cuba”
• Ana Stela de Almeida Cunha, Centro de Investigação em Rede de Antropologia, ISCTE. “La lengua, la creatividad y la identidad: las charlas con los muertos en el Palo Monte.”

Cosmologia y ritual / Cosmology and ritual
• Katerina Kerestetzi, Université de Nanterre. “El palero y su nganga: reinvención de la práctica del palo monte en la intimidad del cuarto de fundamento.”
• Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, University of Edinburgh. “Ikú lobi ocha: the notion of ‘giving birth’ in Afro-Cuban divination.”
• Diana Espirito Santo, Instituto de Ciencias Sociais. “¿Pa’ que tu me llamas, si no me conoces? Enaction, performance, and the creation of cosmology in Cuban spiritist practices.”
• Alessandra Basso-Ortiz, University College London. “Se restauran santos y se pintan” exposición fotográfica/photography exhibition.

Espacio e improvisación / space and improvisation
• Andrea Antonelli, Università di Bologna. “A religious specialist in action: performing the Orishá in everyday life.”
• Dayron Carrillo Morel, Universität Zürich. “La ciudad en Obbara meyi: La imagen de La Habana en la “post-apertura” religiosa.”
• Jalane Schmidt, University of Virginia. “Cimarrón Uprising: Religious Change in Cuba and the Re-Making of Memory.”

Transnacionalización e inovación/ transnationalization and innovation
• Géraldine Morel, Institut d´etnologie de l´université de Neuchâtel. “Creación de un espacio transnational abakuá y invención de la tradición.”
• Grecy Pérez Amores, Universidad de la Laguna (Tenerife). “Cuando los dioses habitan las soperas: los espacios de la creatividad y el cambio.”
• Claudia Rauhut, Freie Universität Berlin. “Ethical and normative discourses of transnational religious agency in Cuban Santería.”

Participants plan to keep in contact and collaborate on a publication.

2 Responses to “Chronicle of Lisbon’s Workshop on Afro-Cuban religion (4/20/2011)”

  1. Carlos Felix Gonzalez Says:

    Hi everyone,I am trying to contact Alessandra Basso Ortiz , she is an old friend of mine. Please, if you have any information regarding her whereabouts, contact at cfga28@yahoo.fr
    Thank you and Best Reagrds,
    Carlos Felix Gonzalez
    ( Matanzas, Cuba)

  2. pryer Says:

    You might try Martin Holbraad, he’s listed as her adviser, University College London anthropology department. Good luck!

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