UPDATE: The book presentation previously scheduled for March 12 has been CANCELLED.
The workshop with Prof. Fromont will happen as scheduled, on March 13, 11:30am, at the John Hope Franklin Room, and she will participate via Skype.
The Slavery and Visual Culture Working Group is pleased to welcome Cécile Fromont, Associate Professor of African and South Atlantic Art at Yale University and co-founder of the working group, for a workshop on March 13.
At 11:30am at the John Hope Franklin Room, we will be discussing Prof. Fromon’t newly-edited volume, Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition (Penn State, 2019). The discussion will focus on the Introduction of the volume, titled “Kongo Christianity, Festive Performances, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition.” The seminar will be at the John Hope Franklin Room, from 11:30am to 1pm. More information below.
Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas demonstrates how, from the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade, enslaved and free Africans in the Americas used Catholicism and Christian-derived celebrations as spaces for autonomous cultural expression, social organization, and political empowerment. Their appropriation of Catholic-based celebrations calls into question the long-held idea that Africans and their descendants in the diaspora either resignedly accepted Christianity or else transformed its religious rituals into syncretic objects of stealthy resistance.
In addition to Fromont, the contributors include Kevin Dawson, Jeroen Dewulf, Junia Ferreira Furtado, Michael Iyanaga, Dianne M. Stewart, Miguel A. Valerio, and Lisa Voigt.
Cécile Fromont’s writing and teaching focus on the visual, material, and religious culture of Africa and Latin America with a special emphasis on the early modern period (ca 1500-1800) and on the Portuguese-speaking Atlantic World. Her first book, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo was published in 2014 by the University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History. It received the 2017 Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Arnold Rubin Outstanding Book Award, was named the 2015 American Academy of Religion Best First Book in the History of Religions, the 2015 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions, an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Melville J. Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association, and won a College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Fund Grant. It has been translated into French by Les Presses du Réel in 2018. She is the editor as well as a contributor to the 2019 volume Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition published in the Africana Religion Series at Penn State University Press. Her essays on African and Latin American art have appeared, among other venues, in the Colonial Latin American Review, African Arts, Anais do Museu Paulista, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics as well as various edited volumes and exhibition catalogues.