Conference | Rethinking the historical development of Haitian culture and religion from an Afro-Iberian perspective: The case of the Rara
16.12.2021 | 18:00-20:00 | Lisbon | CAN | Room 208
This lecture presents a new perspective on the historical development of a festive tradition in Haiti, known by the name of Rara. Although there are many studies on this tradition, questions regarding the origin of elements of Catholic origin have been ignored. This is surprising since the parades of the Rara groups coincide with the beginning of Lent and intensify during Holy Week. Also, a central element of the Rara is the destruction of a puppet representing Judas Iscariot. Based on a comparative analysis, this lecture presents a number of parallels between the Rara and the Iberian traditions of the late Middle Ages. These parallels are explained by referring to enslaved Africans, who were already familiar with Iberian cultural/religious practices before their arrival in the Americas.
Jeroen Dewulf is a full professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is director of the Institute for European Studies and the Center for Portuguese Studies. This lecture is part of a research project supported by the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD) and the National Library of Portugal (BNP).