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Expelling the Devil Within – Join us on October 27, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. as Dr. Matthew Pettway will be sharing and discussing Afro-Caribbean Spirituality and Revolution in the Poetry of Plácido.
In the shadow of the Haitian Revolution, enslaved and free African descendants organized insurrections designed to abolish slavery, depose the Spanish government, and boldly institute a republic on the island of Cuba. The government portrayed freedmen as indoctrinators of Africans and rebels. They accused Plácido El Poeta as the chief conspirator who had devised poetry to conjure a conspiracy against the Queen. This lecture analyzes Plácido’s portrayal of carnival in the poem, “El diablito” (The Little Devil). Plácido’s diablito was not the maleficent entity known as the Devil within the Judeo-Christian worldview but rather a West African masquerader from the Abakuá male initiation society, who had come as an agent of retributive justice.
Professor Pettway is the author of Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion (U of Mississippi Press, 2019) and numerous articles on Black Cuban colonial studies. He comes to us from the University of South Alabama.
We are grateful to the Lyceum Committee of the Student Government Association, the Friends of the Humanities, and the Department of History, Geography and Philosophy for their generous support of this lecture.
This event will be held in the Ernest J. Gaines Center Hallway, 3rd floor.