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Author Discussion Series: Pablo F. Gomez



Author Discussion Series: Pablo F. GomezThe Experiential Caribbean: Creating Knowledge and Healing in the Early Modern Atlantic (UNC Press, 2017)

Opening a window on a dynamic realm far beyond imperial courts, anatomical theaters, and learned societies, Pablo F. Gómez examines the strategies that Caribbean people used to create authoritative, experientially based knowledge about the human body and the natural world during the long seventeenth century. Gómez treats the early modern intellectual culture of these mostly black and free Caribbean communities on its own merits and not only as it relates to well-known frameworks for the study of science and medicine.

Drawing on an array of governmental and ecclesiastical sources—notably Inquisition records—Gómez highlights more than one hundred black ritual practitioners regarded as masters of healing practices and as social and spiritual leaders. He shows how they developed evidence-based healing principles based on sensorial experience rather than on dogma. He elucidates how they nourished ideas about the universality of human bodies, which contributed to the rise of empirical testing of disease origins and cures. Both colonial authorities and Caribbean people of all conditions viewed this experiential knowledge as powerful and competitive. In some ways, it served to respond to the ills of slavery. Even more crucial, however, it demonstrates how the black Atlantic helped creatively to fashion the early modern world.

Pablo F. Gomez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics and the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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This event takes place at the Bullshead Bookshop (2nd floor of the Student Bookstore) at 207 South Road, Chapel Hill, NC


April 5
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Sonja Haynes Stone Center


Bullshead Bookshop
207 South Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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(919) 962-5060

Stone Center