New Book—”Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty”

Ana-Maurine Lara’s Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty, an ethnography of spiritual practices in the Dominican Republic, was published by SUNY Press in November 2020. This book won the 2020 Ruth Benedict Prize by the Association for Queer Anthropology.

Description: Evocative, innovative ethnography of spiritual practices and forms of queer, black, and indigenous life in the Dominican Republic.

Theoretically wide-ranging and deeply personal and poetic, Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty is based on more than three years of fieldwork in the Dominican Republic. Ana-Maurine Lara draws on her engagement in traditional ceremonies, observations of national Catholic celebrations, and interviews with activists from peasant, feminist, and LGBT communities to reframe contemporary conversations about queerness and blackness. The result is a rich ethnography of the ways criollo spiritual practices challenge gender and racial binaries and manifest what Lara characterizes as a shared desire for decolonization.

Angelique V. Nixon (author of Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture) writes: “It is a refreshing intervention—dynamic, unique, and beautifully written—into how we write about, create, and theorize the Caribbean and postcolonial world. The book defies the conventions of Western forms of knowledge production. It fully embraces black and indigenous forms of creation and knowledge production—and the author demonstrates this through storytelling, ethnography, participatory research, creative nonfiction, poetry, mythmaking, and spiritual practice.”

Ana-Maurine Lara is Assistant Professor in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Oregon. She is the author of Erzulie’s Skirt and Kohnjehr Woman.

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