Reading Pablo F. Gómez's The Experiential Caribbean is a bit like stepping into a parallel universe, one where the “long seventeenth century” (circa 1580 to 1720) gave rise to medical empiricism not just in Gideon Harvey's and Thomas Sydenham's London, Marcello Malpighi's and Giovanni Alfonso Borelli's Pisa, Nicolas Malebranche's Paris, or René Descartes's Amsterdam but in places like Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Portobelo, and Caracas. The names of the paragons of empiricism in this parallel universe are not enshrined in the annals of science. Instead, Gómez laboriously extracted these names from the records of Cartagena's tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition. Yet black healers and knowledge workers such as Bernardo Macaya, Antonio Congo, Diego López, Paula de Eguiluz, Domingo de La Ascensión, Mateo Arará, and many others (who may never have come to the attention of the Holy Office) belong, or so Gómez...

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