Cuba's Integrated Religious Multiplicity: Challenge to Western Understandings to Religion?

Fri, January 24, 2020 12:00 PM at 457 Berkey Hall

ABSTRACTThis reading is “a report from field research” of the Americas’ portion of the African Diaspora. The presentation specifically reports on findings about the construction of new Africa-inspired religious practices in Cuba and how those practices continue to disrupt academia’s binary understanding of religion.  The report engages 21-century findings from the eastern, Oriente region of Cuba where a norm is the simultaneous practice of more than one distinct religious tradition. For a lack of better language, we have called this, “integrated religious multiplicity/multiple religious belonging.”

BIOGRAPHY: Jualynne E. Dodson earned the PhD in Sociology of Religion from the University of California, Berkeley. She is Professor of Sociology and African American & African Studies (AAAS) at Michigan State University (MSU) and was recruited by the university as the John Hannah Distinguished Visiting Professor, from which position the administration insisted she join the faculty. Dodson regularly teaches Classical Sociological Theory; Qualitative Research Methods; Contemporary Communities: U.S. African Americans; Developing Society: Cuba, and courses on the African Diaspora. She is Founding Director of the Award Winning African Atlantic Research Team that accompanied her move from University of Colorado.

She has published on issues of culture and religion of African descendants in the Americas as well as on issues related to qualitative research of these topics. Jualynne Dodson has authored journal articles, encyclopedia inclusions, book chapters, book reviews as well as volumes on Engendering Church: Women, Power, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Sacred Spaces: Religious Traditions of Oriente Cuba; Afro-Centric Education: Toward a Non-Deficit Perspective in Services to Families & Children and Co-edited Religion, Culture and Spirituality in Africa and the African Diaspora. She also was commissioned to write bibliographic essay, “The African Methodist Episcopal Church” for Oxford Online Bibliographies for African American Studies, Oxford University Press. She is currently writing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Diaspora Dialogue: Religion in The African Diaspora.

Dr. Dodson is frequently invited as Keynote Presenter to professional academic groups in the U.S., is a regular outside reviewer for academic journals and presses just as she contributes to national and international professional academic conferences. Dodson was awarded the A. Wade Smith Award for Lifetime Teaching, Mentoring and Service by the Association of Black Sociologists. Dodson also serves on governing boards of the Association for Sociology of Religion, Research Committee on Sociology of Religion (RC22) of the International Sociology Association, Chairs the Mentoring Committee for the Association for WorldWide Study of the African Diaspora and is an Ambassador for the American Academy of Religion. Her work was selected by UNESCO for their Conference on Sharing Cultures, “Intangible Heritages,” held in the Azores Islands, Portugal.