Andrea Sanmiguel/ Contributing Writer
For those curious about multicultural teachings and influence at FIU, this may spike your interest.
Monday, Oct. 7, the School of International and Public Affairs will be hosting its “Kings for Three Days: The Role of Race and Gender in an Afro-Ecuadorian Festival” event, dedicated to the book written by Jean Rahier, professor of anthropology and director of African and African Diaspora Studies.
According to Rahier, the book “Kings for Three Days” is one of the biggest research projects of his career. After a 25-year research process, the book was published in May.
During this event, students can expect to learn about the content of the book firsthand and will have the opportunity to speak to Rahier directly.
Reyni Valerio, program assistant for the AADS, explains that a lot of students that come to these events thinking they’re just going to meet the author and learn about the book, but they end up walking away with a whole new perspective on the subject at hand.
“Kings for Three Days” is based on the Afro-Ecuadorian festival, La Fiesta de los Reyes, held in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
According to Rahier, the three-day festival, celebrated from January 6 to 8, is nothing but the merriment of Catholic epiphany, which is based off the three Magi: Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar.
The Afro-Ecuadorian people from various villages gather by the hundreds to this particular festival, wearing masks that represent different races such as whites, blacks and mestizos; they also cross-dress during performances to represent certain aspects of the political, racial and social struggles involved.
“Basically, the festival is a very good illustration to underline the validity of the creolized cultures, which have elements that come from various origins, such as Africa, Europe and Latin American influences,” said Rahier.
According Rahier, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his interest in African and Latin American cultures is mainly because he identifies with those cultures.
“I got absolutely fascinated by this festival,” said Rahier.
Rahier expects that students will learn about the festival and that “Kings for Three Days” will intrigue people’s curiosity to the point that they will decide to pursue further research.
The event is free to the public and will be held at Coral Gables Books & Books at 6:30 p.m.
The evening’s activities will consist of a brief discussion about the book, a question and answer session with the author and a book signing for those who have purchased his published works, said Rahier.