Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Vodú Chic: Cuba's Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State

October 21st, 2016
4:00 PM

Location
Dinwiddie Hall
Room 103

The Department of Anthropology and Tulane Anthropology Student Association present a lecture by Dr. Grete Viddal, Zemurray-Stone Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, “Vodú Chic: Cuba’s Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State” at 4:00 pm on Friday October 21st.

Talk Abstract
Hundreds of thousands of Haitian agricultural laborers arrived in Cuba to cut cane as the Cuban sugar industry was expanding between the 1910s and the 1930s. Historically, Haitian laborers occupied the lowest strata in Cuban society. Until recently, the maintenance of Haitian traditions in Cuba was associated with rural isolation and poverty. Today however, Cuba’s Haitian communities are increasingly linked with cultural institutes, heritage festivals, music promoters, and the tourism industry. Music, dance, and rituals of Vodú are reimagined for the public stage. Viddal’s book in progress, Vodú Chic, explores how haitiano-cubanos utilize emerging “economies of folklore” in the socialist state —particularly heritage conservation projects and the tourist industry—to assert their voices and transform once-denigrated traditions into the exotic and desired.

A brief reception will follow the talk.

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