(varying credit, 1-8 weeks)
An interdisciplinary approach to the study of Afro-Cuban cultures and religions, with hands-on workshops at local Lucumí and Congo religious societies. Taught by a team of Cuban professors who are specialists in the field, students learn about the arrival of Africans in Cuba, slavery and the sugar cane plantation economy, the participation of Afro-Cubans in Cuba’s independence movements, Afro-Cuban culture post-independence, the development of cabildos de nación and Afro-Cuban religious societies, and other topics of importance. In addition, students learn about the evolution of Cuban music based on African rhythms, dancing and drumming ceremonies, medicinal and spiritual uses of herbs, the preparation of ritual foods and the influence of Afro-Cubans in the world of art, literature and film. Students work side by side with members of the religious societies in nearby Palmira, to learn first-hand about Afro-Cuban culture in context. The goal of the class is to familiarize students with the contributions of Afro-Cubans to culture and society, to interrogate issues of race and ethnicity in Cuba, and to give students the opportunity to interact in meaningful ways with members of the community.
With this course module: