A major empirical contribution to the debate about antirepresentationalism and posthumanism that has been agitating the entire discipline of anthropology in recent years. Stephan Palmie, author of "e;The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion"e;
The most provocative and complete portrayal of contemporary Cuban espiritismo available. It underscores the embodied character of espiritista practices and offers a dynamic portrayal of espiritista mediums crucial roles within a complex of Afro-Cuban religions that includes ocha, palo monte, and other faiths. Reinaldo L. Roman, author of "e;Governing Spirits: Religion, Miracles, and Spectacles in Cuba and Puerto Rico, 1898 1956"e;
To read this book is to enter into an apparently alien world and yet find that it makes complete sense, and for that reason "e;Developing the Dead"e; is a model of the anthropological enterprise. Charles Stewart, author of "e;Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece"e;
Based on extensive fieldwork among espiritistas and their patrons in Havana, this book makes the surprising claim that Spiritist practices are fundamentally a project of developing the self.
When mediums cultivate relationships between the living and the dead, argues Diana Espirito Santo, they develop, learn, sense, dream, and connect to multiple spirits ("e;muertos"e;), expanding the borders of the self. This understanding of selfhood is radically different from Enlightenment ideas of an autonomous, bounded self and holds fascinating implications for prophecy, healing, and self-consciousness. "e;Developing the Dead "e;shows how Espiritismo s self-making process permeates all aspects of life, not only for its own practitioners but also for those of other Afro-Cuban religions.
Developing the Dead
University Press of Florida
Mediumship and Selfhood in Cuban Espiritismo
Mind, Body & Spirit /