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Governing Man-Gods: Spiritism And The Struggle For Progress In Republican Cuba

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Chapter Summary

The two man-gods were connected by a spiritual genealogy that reveals the black ancestry of Manso's reputedly European and scientific Spiritism and disputes scholarly accounts that would distinguish too sharply between orthodox doctrine and Creole belief, or pure and syncretistic practices. Spiritism did not trickle down from the white literate classes, nor did Afro-Cuban religion rise from the bottom of the social hierarchy through capillary attraction. Legally established Spiritist societies and some Afro-Cuban sociedades de color maintained that education and vice-control measures were needed to ensure the country's progress and the political integration of black and mulatto citizens. The man-gods did not resurrect ancient languages; they made Spiritism, a practice that was itself a product of nineteenth-century visions of progress, their own. The concern with Spiritism and man-gods intensified with republican rule. This chapter concludes that Spiritism was a hybrid well before it arrived in the Cuban countryside.

Keywords: Governing Man; man-gods; orthodox doctrine; Republican Cuba; resurrect; social hierarchy; spiritual genealogy; syncretistic



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