The Byron & Christine Johnson Lecture/Discussion Series

Theme – “Feeling the Spirit:  Diasporic Identities in the Americas”

Belize:  “The Garifuna Journey”

Jacquelyn Benton, Presenter

January 29, 2011

This video presentation introduces the Garifuna culture through the voices of its people, the Garinagu. A people both African and Caribbean, Garinagu identity is a fusion of their African roots and Arawak and Carib traditions from their homeland of St. Vincent.  The Garinagu in the documentary now reside in Central America, and following the viewing, Jacquelyn Benton will elaborate on her experience with them while in Belize.

Jamaica:  Rastafari as a Diasporic Dialogue

Ella Maria Ray & Kizzy Kelley, Presenters

February 19, 2011

As a Jamaican cultural identity export, Rastafari has been and is engaging continental and diasporic Africans in a dialogue of spiritual and cultural identity.  This presentation will address the historic context of Rastafari as we engage in further explorations of culture and identity.

Haiti:  Petro:  The Rite of Nationalism and Spiritual Warfare

Ason Gbehanzin Ajinaku & Omiyale OlisaYaa Ajinaku

March 12, 2011

This presentation will explore Vodun cosmology as it developed in Haiti, as well as the social conditions that gave birth to the galvanizing spiritual tradition of Petro.  In this context, the presenters will also discuss the African precursor to this Pan Afrikan tradition, as well as compare and contrast the Petro rite with other diasporan revolutions and methods of spiritual resistance against slavery.

Brazil:  Meanings of Nationhood in Afro-Brazilian Candomble

Rachel J. Harding, Presenter

April 16, 2011

Afro-Brazilian religions in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Northeast Brazil gathered elements from a variety of West African and Central African traditions, as well as Amerindian traditions and Catholicism.  Dr. Harding will guide our exploration of Candomble’s ritual denominations of Yoruba, Dahomey Fon, Kongo, and Amerindian Indigenous found in Brazil.

Ancestral Empowerment in Diasporic Identities

Ogunde and LaShanta Ifayemi Ase

May 7, 2011

This closing session will explore a commonality within all the identities, the presence and remembrance of the African Ancestors.  A catered lunch will be served, consisting of Afro-Brazilian foods.  The luncheon cost is $15.00.

*All lectures take place at Park Hill United Methodist Church, 5209 Montview Boulevard (Montview & Glencoe), Denver, CO 80207.  They are free and open to the public, though donations are welcome.