Bodies of encounter: health, illness and death in the early modern African-Spanish Caribbean.
Gomez Zuluaga, Pablo Fernando
This dissertation explores African ideas and practices related to bodies, health, illness and death in the early modern Spanish Caribbean. African healing traditions were an essential part of the imagination of bodies, health, illness, and death espoused by the early modern inhabitants of the Iberian Atlantic World. They were instruments of integration, sharing, and adaptation. In the distinctively fluid and cosmopolitan societies and cultures of Spanish Caribbean cities, Africans, Europeans and their descendants developed a common ground for the conceptualization of their bodies' nature, and of the origins of health, illness and death. Drawing on material and documentary evidence from early modern Africa, Europe, and America, my project demonstrates how African systems of belief and practices were seminal in the emergence of ideas about the body. Furthermore, it shows the central place of African mores in the rise of Spanish Colonial socio-cultural structures in the Spanish Colonies in the Caribbean.