Circuits of the Sacred

A Book Launch and Conversation

Thursday, Apr 27, 2023 | 6PM EST | Hemispheric Institute / In-Person Event

Join us as we celebrate the publication of Circuits of the Sacred: A Faggotology in the Black Latinx Caribbean (Duke UP, 2023), Carlos Ulises Decena’s groundbreaking new book, and the spirit of rasanblaj! Professor Decena will be joined by special guests Gina Athena Ulysse (UC Santa Cruz), Erica Rand (Bates College) and Gayatri Gopinath (NYU).

Circuits of the Sacred examines transnational black Latinx Caribbean immigrant queer life and spirit. Decena models what he calls a faggotology—the erotic in the divine as found in the disreputable and the excessive—as foundational to queer black critical and expressive praxis of the future. Drawing on theoretical analysis, memoir, creative writing, and ethnography of Santería/Lucumí in Santo Domingo, Havana, and New Jersey, Decena moves between languages, locations, pronouns, and genres to map the itineraries of Blackness as a “circuit,” a multipronged and multisensorial field. A feminist pilgrimage and extended conversation with the dead, Decena’s study is a provocative work that transforms the academic monograph into a gathering of stories, theoretical innovation, and expressive praxis to channel voices, ancestors, deities, theorists, artists, and spirits from the vantage point of radical feminism and queer-of-color thinking.

The event is organized by the Hemispheric Institute, and co-sponsored by NYU’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) and the Latinx Project.

photo of Carlos Ulises Decena

Carlos Ulises Decena

Carlos Ulises Decena is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose work straddles the humanities and social sciences and whose intellectual projects engage and blur the boundaries among critical ethnic, queer and feminist studies and social justice. His first book, Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire among Dominican Immigrant Men, was published by Duke University Press in 2011. His second book, Circuits of the Sacred: A Faggotology in the Black Latinx Caribbean was published in February 2023 by Duke University Press.

image of Gina Athena Ulysse

Gina Athena Ulysse

Gina Athena Ulysse is a self-described PostZoraInterventionist. A Haitian-American feminist artist-anthropologist, she is currently Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz. In the two decades, her work as a cultural anthropologist has engaged in crossings and dialogues between the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Her practice is rooted in what she calls rasanblaj – a gathering of ideas, people, things, and spirits. Her forthcoming book, A Call to Rasanblaj: Black Feminist Futures & Ethnographic Aesthetics, will be published in Greek spring 2023. In addition, her writing, and art have appeared in American Ethnologist, Feminist Studies, Frontiers, Journal of Haitian Studies, and others. Over the years, she has performed at The Bowery, The British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Gorki Theatre, LaMaMa, Marcus Garvey Liberty Hall, MoMA Salon, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

image of Erica Rand

Erica Rand

Erica Rand is Professor of Art and Visual Culture and of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Bates College, and the Inaugural Faculty Fellow at the Bates Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning. Her writing includes Barbie’s Queer Accessories (1995), The Ellis Island Snow Globe (2005, a queer, anti-racist alternative tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty), and Red Nails Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasure On and Off the Ice (2012). More recently, in “Skating out of the Binary,” “At the Rink, My Feet End in Knives,” and “Good Hair, Bad Math” (forthcoming in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly) she discusses ongoing collective work, as part of a queer gender-nonconforming figure skating pairs team with pairs partner Anna Kellar, to bust open racialized gender binaries in the sport.

image of Gayatri Gopinath

Gayatri Gopinath

Gayatri Gopinath is Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She works at the intersection of transnational feminist and queer studies, postcolonial studies, and diaspora studies, and is the author of two monographs: Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press, 2005), and Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2018). She has published numerous essays on gender, sexuality, and queer diasporic visual art and culture in anthologies and journals such as Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, GLQ, and Social Text. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Intersectional Feminist/Queer Studies Collective at NYU, an initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation, and the recipient of the 2023 NYU Dorothy Irene Height Faculty Award.

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, 5th FL New York, NY 10003

Event Access

This is a virtual and in-person event.

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