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Developing the DeadMediumship and Selfhood in Cuban Espiritismo$
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Diana Espirito Santo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060781.001.0001

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On Good Mediumship

On Good Mediumship

Science, Revolution, and Legitimacy

(p.97) 3 On Good Mediumship
Developing the Dead

Diana Espírito Santo

University Press of Florida

This chapter is an extensive exploration of the so-called scientific spiritist communities in the city of Havana, and includes an overview of their recent history, and of their current structure and discourse. Primarily based on an analysis of the personalities, biographies, and works of its leaders, this chapter argues for the existence of both points of dissent and convergence between the “cientificos” and their broader religious landscape, understanding the former’s efforts at distinction as implicating a necessary, ongoing dialogue with Afro-Cuban religion’s material and spiritual production. In light of these groups’ highly idiosyncratic doctrinal legacies, prior understandings of “cientificos” as predominantly Kardecist practitioners are deconstructed and criticized, and it is further proposed that a closer look be given to face-value discourses that often pit them as members of an exclusivist spiritist elite. “Cientificos” contribute substantially to a modern reimagining of political, scientific and medical cosmologies. In this chapter data on six different “cientifico” groups is used to show why.

Keywords:   Scientific spiritism, Marxism, Morality, Materiality, Medicine

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