City Seeds Lecture Series


Román Díaz. Photo courtesy of Berta Jottar. Photo by Alisa Froman.

About Us

The goal of this lecture and performance series is to emphasize the aesthetics that emerge from the spiritual practices of “African-derived” religions. The lecture series will emphasize how such religions—also known as “creolized” religions, “New World African” religions, or “syncretic” religions—have informed and continue to inform aesthetic practices in the Americas, marking especially the urban aesthetics of cultural spaces that have developed along the Hemispheric Atlantic, from communities in New York and New Orleans to cultural spaces in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil, among others. We hope these events will spark a dialogue that engages various epistemologies: the disciplinary systems of academic theory in the arts, the humanities and the social sciences of the university, as well as such intellectual and embodied systems of knowledge as Santería, Vodou, Candomblé, and Palo Monte.

Special Thanks

This series of talks is possible thanks to major funding from the City College of New York at the City University of New York (CCNY, CUNY), notably the City SEEDS Award, with additional support from the Offices of the President and Provost and President Lisa Staiano-Coico. We would also like to acknowledge support at CCNY from the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education, the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the M.A. in the Study of the Americas, and the Department of Media and Communication Arts. Additional thanks go to the Transnational and Transcolonial Caribbean Studies Research Group (TTCSRG) and the Haiti Cultural Exchange. Thanks also go to the Caribbean Epistemologies Seminar, the PhD Program in French, the PhD Program in History, and the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, Herman Bennett, Peter Consenstein, Kaiama L. Glover, Kelly Baker Josephs, Margarite Fernandez Olmos, Arte Público Press and the University of Houston, the Willen Seminar Initiative Committee for Faculty Diversity and Development at Barnard College/Columbia University, the Africana Studies Program and the Department of French at Barnard College. We are especially grateful to the generosity of Kosanba, Donald Cosentino, J. Michael Dash, Claudine Michel, and Stella Vincenot, without whom the first talk would not have taken place.


Jerry W. Carlson

Schedule of Lectures and Events

*All events scheduled for Monday evenings 7PM, see event page for location details.

9.12.2011 – Mama Lola and Donald Cosentino – “Global Vodou: Mama Lola and Donald Cosentino in Conversation”

9.26.2011 – Yvonne Daniel – “Corporeal Consequences of Dancing Divinity”

10.3.2011 – Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert – “Gade nan mizè-a m tonbe: Vodou and Haiti’s Environmental Catastrophe”

10.31.2011 – Ned Sublette and Alexander LaSalle – “Canga Mundele: Tracing the Secret of Bomba from Saint-Domingue to New Orleans to Puerto Rico”

12.12.2011 – Berta Jottar and Roman Díaz – “Acoustic Bodies: The Aesthetics of Religious Embodiment within the Regla the Osha and Abakuá Societies”