Cultural Resistance in Eastern Cuba from 1960 to the Present

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 10:00 AM
River North Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Nancy B. Mikelsons, Independent Scholar
Eastern Cuba was the home of the most recent revolutionary process in Cuba. The history and culture of Eastern Cuba are significantly independent from those of Western Cuba in a number of ways.  For the purposes of this paper I will discuss how one artist and a cultural center came into being during the post-revolutionary period.  The artist, from that day until today (he is still alive and very much involved with his art), has painted nothing but the pantheon of Regla de Ocha, Vodu and on some occasions Palo Monte, all Afro-Cuban/Caribbean religions. He is deeply learned about these Afro-Cuban religions which have been practiced in Eastern Cuba throughout the Revolutionary period. The cultural center, Casa del Caribe has been studying the Afro=Cuban religions by convening conferences and creating a library and study center for scholars whose research has investigated these religions. It was through Casa that I became an "accidental anthropologist" and have been studying the interactions of these practices in Santiago de Cuba.  My two most important informants on Espiritismo Cruzado are now gone but the information they have left behind indicates that no one ever stopped practicing this form of Espiritismo in the post-revolutionary period. I will address highlights of my 'by invitation only' research over the last 25 years in Santiago de Cuba, the Sierra Maestre mountains and other communities in Eastern Cuba.
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