Aesthetic and Cultural Expressions of African-Derived Religions

A New Book Talk Lecture Series

The aesthetics that emerge from the spiritual practices of “African-derived” religions will be the focal point of this fall’s Book Talk Lecture Series. The series will emphasize how such religions—also known as “creolized” religions, “New World African” religions, or “syncretic” religions—have informed and continue to inform aesthetic practices in the Americas, marking especially the urban aesthetics of cultural spaces that have developed along the Hemispheric Atlantic, from communities in New York and New Orleans to cultural spaces in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil. This series of talks is possible thanks to major funding from the City College of New York at the City University of New York (CCNY, CUNY), notably the City SEEDS Award, with additional support from the Offices of the President and Provost and President Lisa Staiano-Coico.

“We hope these events will spark a dialogue that engages various epistemologies: the disciplinary systems of theory in the arts, the humanities and the social sciences of the university, as well as such intellectual and embodied systems of knowledge such as Santería, Vodou, Candomblé, and Palo Monte,”

says Jerry W. Carlson, a specialist in narrative theory, global independent film, and the cinemas of the Americas and Professor at The City College of New York’s Department of Media and Communication Arts and co-organizer of the series. Alessandra Benedicty, Assistant Professor of Caribbean and Francophone Literatures at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education of the City University of New York, is the other co-organizer for the series and will teach a course associated with the lecture series.

The lecture series, which runs September 12 through December 12, covers a wide range of topics from visual arts, anthropological methods, spiritual practice, dance, literature of Vodou, Santería and Candomblé, Brazilian film to new world African religions.

All but two of the events (3 October and 21 November) take place at the City College’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th Floor. All events are scheduled for Monday evenings at 7PM.

For more information on the events below, please visit the City SEEDS Lecture Series.

Schedule for Fall 2011 Book Talk Lecture Series

9.12.2011 Mama Lola and Donald Cosentino – “Global Vodou: Mama Lola and Donald Cosentino in Conversation” at CWE***

***This first event will be followed by a reception, and all persons who RSVP will be able to join the reception. Please click on the event title above for more information.

9.26.2011 Yvonne Daniel – “Corporeal Consequences of Dancing Divinity” at CWE

10.3.2011 Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert – “Gade nan mizè-a m tonbe: Vodou and Haiti’s Environmental Catastrophe”***

***This event will take place at the CUNY Graduate Center and is cosponsored by the Caribbean Epistemologies Seminar

10.31.2011 Ned Sublette and Alexander LaSalle – “Canga Mundele: Tracing the Secret of Bomba from Saint-Domingue to New Orleans to Puerto Rico” at CWE

11.7.2011 Stephen Selka – “Catching Spirits on Film: Representations of Candomblé in Brazilian Cinema” at CWE

11.14.2011 Lyn Di Iorio – “Writing Palo Monte: Lyn Di Iorio in Conversation with Jerry W. Carlson, Her New Novel Outside the Bones” at CWE

11.21.2011 Colin Dayan – “The Gods in the Trunk, or Chauvet’s Remnants at Barnard College

11.28.2011 Carlyle Van Thompson and Rachael Miller Benavidez -”The Trickster: Performing, Passing, and Masquerading in ‘America:’ A Conversation between Carlyle Van Thompson and Rachael Miller Benavidez” at CWE

12.12.2011 Berta Jottar and Roman Díaz – “Acoustic Bodies: The Aesthetics of Religious Embodiment within the Regla the Osha, and Abakuá Societies” at CWE