Locating Afro-Cuban Religion

Fernando Ortiz and Lydia Cabrera

in Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037479
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042329 | DOI:
Locating Afro-Cuban Religion

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This chapter explores the ways in which narrative structure shapes and is shaped by the presentation of race. Through a comparison of Fernando Ortiz's Los negros brujos and Lydia Cabrera's El Monte, it shows how Cuban writers use ideas of time and space to represent blackness. Ortiz constructs his study via a temporal framework that privileges positivist ideas of evolution. His desire to create a coherent national narrative creates a tension in his work between defining Afro-Cuban culture and subsuming the question of blackness into a narrative of hybridity, a tension which extends to his later work such as Contrapunteo cubano. Cabrera's use of a spatial, rather than temporal, framework of analysis allows her, unlike Ortiz, to posit a national space in which different races and cultural narratives exist.

Keywords: Fernando Ortiz; Lydia Cabrera; Los negros brujos; El Monte; narrative structure; blackness; hybridity; national space

Chapter.  14114 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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