Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898-1956 (Paperback)
  • Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898-1956 (Paperback)
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Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898-1956 (Paperback)

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£39.95
Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 17/12/2007
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Freedom of religion did not come easily to Cuba or Puerto Rico. Only after the arrival of American troops during the Spanish-American War were non-Catholics permitted to practice their religions openly and to proselytize. When government efforts to ensure freedom of worship began, reformers on both islands rejoiced, believing that an era of regeneration and modernization was upon them. But as new laws went into effect, critics voiced their dismay at the rise of popular religions. Reinaldo L. Roman explores the changing relationship between regulators and practitioners in neocolonial Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spiritism, Santeria, and other African-derived traditions were typically characterized in sensational fashion by the popular press as ""a plague of superstition."" Examining seven episodes between 1898 and the Cuban Revolution when the public demanded official actions against ""misbelief,"" Roman finds that when outbreaks of superstition were debated, matters of citizenship were usually at stake. He links the circulation of spectacular charges of witchcraft and miracle-making to anxieties surrounding newly expanded citizenries that included people of color. ""Governing Spirits"" also contributes to the understanding of vernacular religions by moving beyond questions of national or traditional origins to illuminate how boundaries among hybrid practices evolved in a process of historical contingencies.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807858363
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 19 mm
Edition: New edition


MEDIA REVIEWS
A fascinating exploration of the historical dynamics. . . . Thoroughly researched and skillfully presented . . . first-rate contribution.--The Journal of American History


A much-needed study of the Puerto Rican and Cuban governments' control of superstition in the first half of the twentieth century. . . . An excellent historical account of the interplay between religion, politics, and public discourse in early twentieth-century Cuba and Puerto Rico.--Journal of Law and Religion


An instrumental text for investigating the history of Caribbean derived religions.--Religious Studies Review


This is a fine book, well written and carefully researched." --American Historical Review


Recommended.--Choice


The true contribution of this fine historical project lies in the careful detail through which Roman tells . . . how various institutions and actors coconstructed religious miracles and spectacles as they worked out what religious modernity would look like.--American Ethnologist


Offers us an insightful comprehension of the governance of moral bodies and consumption of spiritual forces in a context of capitalist expansion.--Caribbean Studies


Eloquent and engaging. . . . Roman's carefully construed compilations of historical material are fascinating reading.--CENTRO Journal


More than being merely an absorbing case study, Governing Spirits is methodologically useful for students of different temporal and geographic focuses.--Canadian Journal of History


Roman has set a new standard for historical research on Caribbean religions.--New West Indian Guide

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