Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, History, University of Georgia

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of California / Los Angeles
Conjuring Progress and Divinity: Religion and Conflict in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1899-1956

The project proposed here is best described as a cultural history of the modern Caribbean imaginary. It contemplates research into 7 specific event-cycles ranging from incarnations of the Virgin in turn-of -the- century Puerto Rico to the healing of Cuban audiences through radio broadcasts decades later. The investigation is founded upon the notion that 'events' such as religious visions or even the sighting of the Chupacabras should not be dismissed with the application of facile labels nor should they be reified as expressions of the essence of a culture. Rather, these phenomena should be understood within the local contexts that generate them, considering the roles of the press, folk tradition, class and institutional-popular linkages to make sense of what at first appears puerile or unworthy of study. The vision proposed here is that when viewed as a corpus of beliefs and narratives, these incidents articulate complementary popular discourses, discourses that identify the loci of collective fears and at times also point at the possibility of healing.