by Rebeca L. Hey-Colón
University of Texas Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-1-4773-2727-2 | Cloth: 978-1-4773-2724-1 | Paper: 978-1-4773-2725-8
Library of Congress Classification PQ7081.5H49 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 324.1196


How water enables Caribbean and Latinx writers to reconnect to their pasts, presents, and futures.

Water is often tasked with upholding division through the imposition of geopolitical borders. We see this in the construction of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo on the US-Mexico border, as well as in how the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean are used to delineate the limits of US territory. In stark contrast to this divisive view, Afro-diasporic religions conceive of water as a place of connection; it is where spiritual entities and ancestors reside, and where knowledge awaits.

Departing from the premise that water encourages confluence through the sustainment of contradiction, Channeling Knowledges fathoms water’s depth and breadth in the work of Latinx and Caribbean creators such as Mayra Santos-Febres, Rita Indiana, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa, and the Border of Lights collective. Combining methodologies from literary studies, anthropology, history, and religious studies, Rebeca L. Hey-Colón’s interdisciplinary study traces how Latinx and Caribbean cultural production draws on systems of Afro-diasporic worship—Haitian Vodou, La 21 División (Dominican Vodou), and Santería/Regla de Ocha—to channel the power of water, both salty and sweet, in sustaining connections between past, present, and not-yet-imagined futures.