Symposium | Afro-Christian Festivals of the Americas

Event time: 
Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 4:00am to 12:00pm
Sterling Memorial Library Auditorium See map
128 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Open to: 
General Public
Event description: 

Bridging Methodologies and Crossing Frontiers

Symposium organized by Cécile Fromont.

presented with support from the Council on Latin-American and Iberian Studies, Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies.

From the early moments of the Atlantic Slave Trade to this day, across the American continent, men and women of African origin or descent got together and socialized in the orbit of Christian churches. These organizations allowed them to hone relatively independent forms of socialization and cultural productions. Festive events that emerged in this context such as the coronation of black queens and kings in colonial and contemporary Brazil have received robust academic attention. Yet, studies of Afro-Christian festivals among enslaved and free populations have so far mainly remained conscribed within sharply defined disciplinary, national, and chronological boundaries.

This one day symposium proposes to open up the conversation on Afro-Christian festivals in the Americas by gathering scholars from several disciplines who have individually produced important, innovative work on related, but seldom compared traditions from different regions of the so-called Western Hemisphere. 

Confronting sources, methodologies, and interpretations, symposium participants will have the opportunity to reflect not only on the state of knowledge about their common object of study, but also on possible new directions for research and teaching about these traditions that have been central to black religious and artistic experience in the Americas.


Jeroen Dewulf, Associate professor and director of the Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley:

Moors and Christians on Congo Square? The Afro-Iberian Roots of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians

Dianne M. Stewart, Associate professor of religion and African American studies, Emory University:

Afro-Catholic Ceremonies and Ritual Vocabularies of Sovereignty in Post-Emancipation Trinidad

Junia Furtado, Professor of modern history at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil:

Black Ceremonies in Perspective: Brazil and Dahomey in XVIII century

Linda Heywood, Professor of African American Studies and history, Boston University:

Queen Njinga in Brazilian Popular Culture: In Search of History and Memory

Glaura Lucas,  Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

The “immense universe” of musical experience within Afro-Brazilian Congado

Suzel Ana Reily, Queen’s University Belfast/Universidade de Campinas

Black Legacies in Popular Catholic Ritual Musicking of South-East Brazil

Lisa Voigt, Associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University

Public Performances of a Black Brotherhood in a Brazilian Mining Town

Miguel Valerio, Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University

Kings of the Kongo, Slaves of the Americas: Staging African Identity in a Renaissance Festival in Mexico City in 1539

Other participants

Tim Barringer, Yale University, History of Art
Monique Ingalls, Yale University, ISM Fellow in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts
Stuart Schwartz, Yale University, History


Symposium organized by Cécile Fromont.


Biographies & Abstracts

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