Celebration of ‘The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions’ Friday

The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions, co-edited by a York professor and considered the definitive reference for Caribbean religious phenomena from a Caribbean perspective, will be the focus of a reception Friday, followed by the inaugural Diana Massiah Lecture in Caribbean Studies.

The celebration and lecture will take place Nov. 8 at 6pm at 280N York Lanes, Keele campus, followed by the lecture in the Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building at 7:30pm. EncyclopediaCaribbeanReligionsThe events are sponsored by the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean, York Centre for Education & Community, the Department of Humanities, Vanier College and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions (University of Illinois Press), volumes one and two, is co-edited by Patrick Taylor of the Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Frederick Case, former principal of New College, University of Toronto.

Representing the culmination of more than a decade of work by the associates of the Caribbean Religions Project, an international collaborative project directed by Taylor, The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions is the prime outcome. It covers the religions of the world as they manifest themselves and are transformed in the Caribbean context and helps to foster a greater understanding of the role of religion in Caribbean life and society, in the Caribbean diaspora, and in wider national and transnational spaces.

Generously illustrated, The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions is a landmark project that combines the breadth of a comparative approach to religion with the depth of understanding of Caribbean spirituality as an ever-changing and varied historical phenomenon.

Organized alphabetically, entries examine how Caribbean religious experiences have been shaped by and have responded to the processes of colonialism and the challenges of the postcolonial world. It also examines religious traditions and explores topics, such as religious rituals, beliefs, practices, specific historical developments, geographical differences, and gender roles within major traditions.

DianaMassiahLectureHeadshotofSpeakerDeborah A. Thomas

The Diana Massiah Lecture in Caribbean Studies, “Intimate Witnessing: Mapping State Violence on the Social Body, Kingston 2010”, will be delivered by anthropology Africana studies Professor Deborah A. Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania.

What windows onto the everyday does bearing witness to state violence open for us? The Diana Massiah Lecture in Caribbean Studies returns to the May 2010 government-sanctioned violence against the inner-city community of Tivoli Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. There it explores the sphere of intimacy – the small, domestic, pedestrian stories – that both gives a view of the gendered dimensions of spectacular and structural violence and produces desires related to social and political life.

Thomas, a cultural anthropologist, is the author of Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (Duke, 2011) and Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica (Duke, 2004). She co-edited Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness (Duke, 2006) with Kamari Clarke and co-directed the documentary Bad Friday: Rastafari after DianaMassiahLectureCoral Gardens (2011) with John R. Jackson, Jr.

From the Caribbean

Diana Massiah, originally from Barbados, settled in Toronto in the mid-1980s. She maintains close ties with the Barbadian community locally and back home and has been a director of the Barbados Ball, an organization focused on raising funds for post-secondary scholarships and health care. She is also involved with the Harrison-Queens College Alumni Association, Toronto Chapter. The Diana Massiah Lecture Series in Caribbean Studies is a three-year lecture series established in celebration of Diana’s 65th birthday.