Activating the Past: Latin America in the Black Atlantic, Day Two

The goal of this conference is to disclose "hidden" historical references to local and regional encounters with the trans-Atlantic slave trade, focusing on religious practices and artifacts that shaped changing political and economic relationships in "fetishized" forms of power and value.

Sunday, April 24, 2005
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Although the history of the Atlantic slave trade is rarely acknowledged in the popular imagination of West Africa and the Creole Caribbean, it has retreated, so to speak, within ritual associations and other practices as a restricted, secret history that is activated in various social and sacred domains.

We will highlight significant variations within regional worlds on both sides of the Atlantic. In West Africa, comparison of port cities along the coast will also extend to northern territories in the hinterlands where slave raiding occurred but is rarely acknowledged. In the Caribbean, regional contrasts between coastal and hinterland communities and social types will relate figures of the Montero, the Jíbaro, the Indio and the Caboclo to their ritual representations in Santería, Vodou, and Candomblé.


III. Altered States/Altar-ed Saints

  • Ekpe/Abakua in Middle Passage
    Stephan Palmié, Anthropology, University of Chicago
  • From Arago to Anastacia: the Transformation of a 19th Century French Engraving into an Afro-Brazilian Cult Figure
    Jerome Handler, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • Espiritismo Altars in Puerto Rico and Cuba: The Indian and the Congo
    Judith Bettelheim, Art History, San Francisco State
  • Conversation with Congo Manuel: Kings and Slaves in the Eschatology of Espiritismo
    Don Cosentino, World Arts and Culture, UCLA
  • Commentator: José Moya, History, UCLA


IV. Historical Geographies

  • Images of Slavery in the Vodun Religious Practice of Benin and Brazil
    Luis Nicolau Parés, Anthropology, Federal University of Bahia
  • A Goat’s Tale: Diabolical Economies of the Bahian Interior
    Brian Brazeal, Anthropology, University of Chicago
  • Koup Tet: Haitian Stick Fighting and the Haitian Revolution
    Thomas J. Desch-Obi, History, Baruch College
  • Commentator: Stephen Bell, Geography, UCLA

This conference is funded by the UCLA International Institute and the Burkle Center for International Relations through a Global Impact Research Initiative grant, and the Latin American Center.

For more information, please contact

Special Instructions

Parking is available in Parking Lot 3 (enter from Hilgard Avenue) or Parking Lot 5, turn from Sunset Boulevard onto Royce Drive. Due to the Los Angeles Book Fair on campus, drivers are advised to park early, by 9:00 am because parking will be very busy after that time.

Cost : Event is FREE and OPEN to the public.

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Latin American Institute, UCLA International Institute