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International relations specialist Henry Heredia to speak at ETSU on Cuban religion

Community Contributor • Updated Oct 31, 2016 at 6:43 PM

JOHNSON CITY – "Cuba's Syncretized Religion: Understanding Regla de Osha or Santeria" is the topic of a free public lecture to be given by Henry Heredia at East Tennessee State University on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 4 p.m. in the Ball Hall auditorium.

Heredia, an international relations specialist from Havana, Cuba, will explain the basic elements of Santeria, focusing on the religion's African and Catholic origins, as well as his own experiences as a practitioner. He will address the basic elements of this Cuban religion in the context of religious history; race, gender and culture; ritual imagery and material culture; healing; and culture change in Cuba.

Heredia first spoke with ETSU students on the topic earlier this year, when the university offered its first study abroad trip to Cuba, which was made possible after the U.S. normalized relations with the island nation in December 2014.

Heredia holds a degree in education from the Pedagogical University in Havana and also has studied at the Higher Institute of International Relations Raúl Roa García. Since 2011, he has managed academic exchange for the Cuban Institute for Cultural Research Juan Marinello.

Previously, he was an international relations coordinator for the Cuban Writers and Artists Association, and he has over 15 years of experience with the environmental and community group Project Espiral, of which he is a founding member.

Heredia's talk is co-sponsored by the Culture and Health Minor Program in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Honors College at ETSU. It is part of a speaking tour coordinated by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, an organization that works to expand study abroad and international educational opportunities for students throughout the state.

For more information, contact Dr. Melissa Schrift, professor of anthropology and director of the Culture and Health Minor, at 423-439-5313 or schrift@etsu.edu. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.