Northwestern Events Calendar


“The Hexing of Donald Trump: Brujería as Collective Action”

When: Wednesday, October 25, 2017
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: John Evans Center, 1800 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Rossitza Guenkova-Fernandez   (847) 491-3611

Group: Religious Studies Department

Category: Academic


Lecture by Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesus,
Associate Professor of African American Religions,
Harvard Divinity School

The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency was a blow to many liberal secularists who had presumed that racism, sexism, and patriarchy were in a losing battle. However, for many Black and Brown activists fighting against systematic oppression, having a president beholden to white supremacy was not new (albeit this version much less cordial). For those who practice African diasporic religions, “witchcraft” or brujería as it is known in Spanish, has historically been a strategy to reveal this type of oppression. Since early European colonialism and white domination, overseers, masters, and police have been the subject of curses from various Black, Native, and Pagan hexes. Indeed, witchcraft continues to instill fear in the minds of oppressors. This talk examines the collective political strategy of brujería against Donald Trump as tool against the violence of this racist administration. I trace African diasporic practitioners who have used ebbo, or offerings, prayers, rites, and collective works to thwart Trump’s oppressive plans. Historically, ebbos manipulate and change destiny, to alieve practitioners of ailments, and as a form of collective action to redirect natural disasters such as hurricanes or to inflict damage upon a bad person. As a Black Caribbean strategy against oppression, theorizing from the ebbo allows for the multiple dimension of politics to stand in relief. I argue that theory from the curse demonstrates the how white liberal myth of “progress” in service of white supremacy.

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