Developing the Dead
Mediumship and Selfhood in Cuban EspiritismoeBook - 2015
Despite its powerful influence on Cuban culture, Espiritismo has often been overlooked by scholars. Developing the Dead is the first in-depth exploration of contemporary Espiritismo in Cuba. Based on extensive fieldwork among religious practitioners and their clients 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 Esp#65533;rito Santo, they develop, learn, sense, dream, and connect to multiple spirits (muertos), 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. Developing the Dead 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.