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HIST.2121: Afro-Latin America

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Welcome to Afro-Latin America

This class surveys the history of Africans and people of African descent in Latin America from the sixteenth century to the present. The vast majority of enslaved people from Africa who crossed the Atlantic arrrived in Latin America, not in the US. In some areas, like the Caribbean and Brazil, the majority of the population for many years was (or is) of African descent. How has this affected social, cultural, and political life in the region? We will consider a range of topics, including how elements of African culture have been incorporated into broader Latin American traditions, slavery and abolition, the struggle for citizenship and inclusion, and the formation of a distinct Afro-Latin American identity.  

Required Text

McKnight, Kathryn Joy and Leo J. Garofalo, eds., Afro-Latino Voices. Narratives from the Early
Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812
. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 2009.



Crossings: Read Ch. 2: Slave Trading on the Coast, pp. 38-56 

Extending the Frontiers: Read Antonio de Almeida Mendes, “The Foundations of the System: A Reassessment of the Slave Trade to the Spanish Americas in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”  pp.63-95

  • Beyond Slavery: Read David Geggus, “The Sounds and Echoes of Freedom. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution on Latin America”, pp.29-45
  • Eduardo Silva, “Black Abolitionists in the Quilombo of Leblon, Rio de Janeiro”, pp. 113-125 
  • Darién J. Davis and Judith Michelle Williams, “Pan-Africanism, Negritude, and the Currency of Blackness,” pp. 144-166     

Slavery, Freedom, and Abolition in Latin America and the Atlantic World: read chapter 3, pp. 90-116 

  • Hiding in Plain Sight: read Introduction and chapter 1, pp.1-30
  • Chapters 2 and 3, pp. 31-65
  • Chapter 4, pp. 66-84
  • Chapters 5, 6 and
  • Conclusion, pp. 85-117

Under the Flags of Freedom, read pp. 1-36.

  • Afro-Latin America, read chapter 2, pp. 53-84 
  • chapter 4, pp. 117-151
  • chapter 5, pp. 153-201 
  • chapter 3, pp. 85-116.
  • Voices of the Enslaved, pp. 171-191
  • pp. 85-104
  • pp. 161-170.

Slavery and Antislavery in Spain’s Atlantic Empire: read chapter 8, M. Zeuske and O. García Martínez, “La Amistad: Ramón Ferrer in Cuba and the Transatlantic Dimensions of Slaving and Contraband Trade”.

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America read Ollie A. Johnson III, “Black Activism in Ecuador, 1979-2009”, pp. 176-197