Dr. Tracey Hucks is professor of Theology at Harvard University. Dr. Hucks has written extensively about the Afro-Caribbean roots of spiritualism. Her book, Obeah, Orisa, and Religious Identity in Trinidad, vol. 1, explores the nuanced differences among Caribbean religious practices and how those practices have changed over time. The chapter “Obeah, Piety, and Poison in The Slave Son,” specifically looks at Black diasporic religious practices in the books Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and The Slave Son, by Marcella Wilkins. Dr. Hucks argues that Stowe, through the character of Uncle Tom, sought to present enslaved people sympathetically, and therefore downplayed Afro-Caribbean aspects of their religious and spiritual practices. Wilkins, on the other hand, represented the obeah religion more extensively in her characters, contributing to a more threatening view of enslaved people.
Through this analysis, Dr. Hucks develops the links between Afro-Caribbean religious practices and Spiritualism in the 19th century, and illuminates how race, social status, and gender influenced Spiritualist practices. Dr. Hucks will present a lecture on her research followed by an audience Q & A.