a c k n o w l e d g m e n t s
This book has been long in the making. In the aftermath of some ten
years of reflecting on some of the issues that form its core, it seems to me
that it grew—far from e√ortlessly to be sure—out of some of the contra-
dictions generated by the research on Afro-Cuban religious thought and
practice that I undertook in Miami between 1985 and 1989. If so, these
contradictions registered not so much in the pages of the book (Das Exil
der Götter) that resulted from this research as in my own experience. I
nowadays look at the project that emerged from these, for me increas-
ingly unresolved, issues as some sort of liability that I had incurred—not
just to an academic career, or to myself and my wife Doris, who in many
ways depended on the publication of a ‘‘second book,’’ but to people to
whom I will never be able to exercise the kind of accountability that
our, in many ways fortuitous, mutual implication in each others’ lives
calls for.
For José Luis Rodrigues y Cabriales, there was no reason to extend the
kindness and human warmth that he o√ered to a dollar-heavy yuma
intruding on his life. To be sure, our chance meeting in front of a tourist
art stall at Havana’s Plaza de la Catedrál eventually led to my injecting
(however fleeting) economic assets into his and his family’s domestic
economy. Yet his taking me for what I am—someone driven to his island
by what friends I had earlier made in Miami diagnosed as a ‘‘spiritual
a∆iction’’ and I, myself, rationalize as unfinished intellectual business—
is quite another story. I thank him, not just for sharing my intellectual
curiosity for what arguably might be construed as ‘‘his’’ cultural heritage,
but for teaching me that el fula—that is, the U.S. dollar—does not have
the objectifying capacity that one would expect it to exert in the world in
which he, Carmen, Michi, Ronald, and Sheila live. The same thanks go to
Marisol Serrano Puig and her children, who repeatedly su√ered the
public stigma of having a foreigner share their private space, and who
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