Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898-1956
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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In writing this book, I incurred debts in several countries. (The total varies depending on how one negotiates the count). Although the account I offer draws principally from archival and periodical sources, I am deeply grateful to the Cubans and Puerto Ricans who spoke to me about intimate matters of faith and healing. ...
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“Tú sabes cómo es la gente aquí.” In the last months of 1995, my mother, Ana Isabel García, repeated that sentence nearly every time we talked on the telephone. Her bemused “you know how people are here” punctuated the conversation whenever we spoke of the chupacabras or the rumors surrounding the latest animal killings. ...
1. Governing Man-Gods in Cuba: Hilario Mustelier and Juan Manso
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Few locales have been witness to as many theogonies as the Hispanic Caribbean in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.1 The proliferation of new deities, prophets, and saints and their irruption into the public realm so soon after the calendar welcomed the 1900s caused modernization’s boosters throughout the region grave concern. ...
2. Governing Saints in Puerto Rico: Elenita and the Hermanos Cheos
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In 1904 and 1905, several Puerto Rican Spiritists and freethinkers were traveling and residing in Cuba, where they contracted a Manso fever that they helped spread in both islands. During their sojourns, they attended the meetings of local societies, promoted the organization of an islandwide Cuban Spiritist federation (modeled after the one established in Puerto Rico in 1903), ...
3. Governing Witchcraft: Journalists and Brujos in Republican Cuba
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The year 1919 opened a grim new chapter in the annals of what scholar Ernesto Chávez Alvarez has called the “militant Negrophobia” of the Cuban republic. This year witnessed a public fright of witchcraft, or brujería, that seems to have bordered upon genuine panic. White families circled the wagons, many fearing or claiming to fear that their children would be abducted and sacrificed by the negros brujos, ...
4. Self-Governing Spirits: La Samaritana and Puerto Rico’s Espiriteros
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Sometime in the mid-nineteenth century Spiritism arrived in Puerto Rico in suitcases and wrapped parcels. Students returning from European universities, travelers, and purveyors of forbidden tracts brought back to the island books, periodicals, and investigative practices that circulated first via informal circuits. ...
5. Managing Miracles in Batista’s Cuba: La Estigmatizada and Clavelito
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La Dolce Vita told us much of what we need to know about the making and unmaking of miracles in an era of spectacles. After following a diminutive convertible conveying Marcello Rubini, his tormented fiancée, Emma, and the original Paparazzo to the site of the Madonna’s apparition in the Italian countryside, Fellini conducted a trenchant inventory of dour skeptics, ...
6. Managing Miracles in the Commonwealth: The Virgin Visits Sabana Grande
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Journalists and publicists had a hand in some of the most salient religious dramas that unfolded in Cuba and Puerto Rico in the last century. In 1953, thousands of Puerto Ricans tuned in to WKAQ’s live broadcasts and kept up with the newspapers to learn about a new round of Marian apparitions unfolding in the southwestern corner of the island. ...
Epilogue. The Chupacabras: Discourses and Social Action
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A few years ago, the renowned anthropologists Jean and John Comaroff called attention to the rise of a new “planetary species” of monstrous beings given to conflating “the virtual with the veritable, the cinematic with the scientific, gods with godzillas, the prophetic with the profitable.”1 The Comaroffs proposed that the sightings of uncanny fauna reported around the world in the last decade are linked to the conquests of neoliberalism, ...
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 11 illus.
Publication Year: 2007