Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, Women on 2019-10-16 00:46Z by Steven

Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic

University Alabama Press
2020-01-28
184 pages
5 B&W figures / 7 tables
6 x 60 x 9 inches
Trade Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8173-2036-2
EBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-9265-9

Erika Denise Edwards, Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Details how African-descended women’s societal, marital, and sexual decisions forever reshaped the racial makeup of Argentina

Argentina values the perception that it is only a country of European immigrants, making it an exception to other Latin American countries, which can embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and those of their children.

Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in Córdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.

This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.

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Instead of enforcing segregation policies to sanction white superiority, Argentine authorities sought to eliminate blackness through European immigration and miscegenation.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-02-02 04:09Z by Steven

Instead of enforcing segregation policies to sanction white superiority, Argentine authorities sought to eliminate blackness through European immigration and miscegenation. The constant arrival of European males through immigration made this goal attainable. For example, [Domingo] Sarmiento often touted mulatos as proof of progress because they “had the brute force of the African and the intellect of the European.”5 By the turn of the twentieth century, it seemed that the whitening project had achieved success. In 1905 Juan José Soiza Reilly wrote in the magazine Caras y Caretas, “The [black] race is losing in the mixture its primitive color. It becomes gray. It dissolves. It lightens. An African tree is producing white flowers.”6

Erika Denise Edwards, “A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and the Disappearance of the Black Population in Argentina,” The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association, May 31, 2018. https://themetropole.blog/2018/05/31/a-tale-of-two-cities-buenos-aires-cordoba-and-the-disappearance-of-the-black-population-in-argentina/.

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A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and the Disappearance of the Black Population in Argentina

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2019-02-01 16:05Z by Steven

A Tale of Two Cities: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and the Disappearance of the Black Population in Argentina

The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association
2018-05-31

Erika Denise Edwards, Associate Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Façade of Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Córdoba, Argentina, no date, Archive of Hispanic Culture, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The recent explosion of black studies in Argentina has been a welcoming effort of various scholars and activists that have refused to accept the old and tired categorization that Argentina is a country of European descendants.1 For instance, most recently activists challenged Argentine president Mauricio Macri’s association between Mercosur and the European Union at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018. There the president stated, “I think the association between Mercosur and the European Union is natural because in South America we are all descendants of Europeans.”2 I can’t say I wasn’t proud to see and hear the strong backlash that challenged this outdated and very tiresome notion that Argentina has always been a white nation. But is that all that is left for us? What I mean more specifically is we can and will continue to dispel that Argentina is a white country of only “European descendants,” but as the field of black studies in Argentina develops it is also time that we take a hard look at the scholarship and ask ourselves what comes next.

My response is that it is time to expand westward. Why? Because scholars of Argentina’s black history have tended to focus on Buenos Aires.3 So much so that the black experience in Buenos Aires has become the national narrative. In other words, Argentina’s black history and more specifically the process of black disappearance references the black experience of Buenos Aires during the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century. By the mid-nineteenth century intellectuals such as Juan Batista Alberdi and Domingo Sarmiento (president of Argentina 1868-1874) justified policies that encouraged European immigration using pseudoscientific theories that purported to prove the biological superiority of “whites” over “nonwhites.” In effect, Sarmiento, and similar intellectuals joined the larger Latin American process of blanqueamiento, or whitening. Blanqueamiento serves as an operative word to describe the late-nineteenth-century state-led modernization process. Like Argentina, many other Latin American countries looked to European immigrants as the way to bring civilization. Historians have argued that this ideological erasure is one of the main reasons for the disappearance of people who identified as black in Argentina.4

Read the entire article here.

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What it’s like to be Black and Argentine

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Justice, Videos on 2019-01-19 02:36Z by Steven

What it’s like to be Black and Argentine

BBC News
2018-12-31

Reporter: Celestina Olulode
Produced by Hannah Green and Hannah Gelbart for the BBC News at Ten.

Black people have had a huge influence on Argentina’s history, but now they make up only one percent of the population of Buenos Aires.

Afro-Argentines, whose families descended from the slave trade, often feel like they’ve been written out of history and are mistaken for foreigners in their own country.

Watch the story here.

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Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Routledge
2018-09-04
358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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I’m White And Latina, Is That A Problem For You?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-01-28 03:13Z by Steven

I’m White And Latina, Is That A Problem For You?

Latina
2018-01-18

Tess Garcia


Tess Garcia

My mom is white. My dad is white. I am white, and I am Latina…I think.

Argentina is largely populated by the descendants of white colonists, who came surging in during the late 19th century. According to a 2009 study, the country’s population is approximately 78.5 percent European. That explains how my dad, who was born in the Argentine city of Tunuyán, melds perfectly into the largely Caucasian community he’s spent most of his life in, the one where he raised my siblings and I.

Add a red-haired American mother to the equation, and you’ve got some very, very white kids…

Read the entire article here.

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A Strange Emblem for a (Not So) White Nation: La Morocha Argentina in the Latin American Racial Context, c. 1900–2015

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Women on 2016-06-07 01:00Z by Steven

A Strange Emblem for a (Not So) White Nation: La Morocha Argentina in the Latin American Racial Context, c. 1900–2015

Journal of Social History
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shw018
First published online: 2016-06-01

Ezequiel Adamovsky

This article explores the origins of La morocha argentina as an unofficial national emblem, the personification of the quintessential Argentinean woman, from its emergence in the early twentieth century to the present. A typical character of vernacular popular culture, the Argentinean “morocha” is compared to the “morenas” featured in other Latin American countries, to find similarities and differences. The racial uncertainty of the “morochas”—who, unlike the “morenas,” were not always marked as being of dark complexion—helped undermine the official discourses of the Argentinean nation, which described it as racially white and ethnically European. The ambivalence of the “morocha argentina” was crucial in contexts in which open challenges of that myth were still unfeasible. Thus, despite claims of racial exceptionalism, the making and trajectory of this emblem proves that Argentina’s racial regime is a variant of the Latin American “color-continuum” racial formations. By analyzing the Argentinean case in comparative perspective, this article also seeks to contribute to a better understanding of nonbinary racial models and, more generally, of ethnicity “beyond groupism”—to put it in Roger Brubaker’s terms. In other words, it aims to reconsider ethnicity as a process, the outcome of group-making projects, rather than (only) as the expression of preexisting ethnic entities.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2014-09-15 01:47Z by Steven

Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots

The New York Times
2014-09-12

Michael T. Luongo

The chapel in the small lakeside resort community of Chascomús is at best underwhelming. Its whitewashed brick exterior is partly obstructed by a tangle of vines and bushes, and its dim, one-room interior is no more majestic than its facade. Wooden pews and an uneven dirt floor are scarcely illuminated by sunlight from a single window. The gray, cracked, dusty walls are adorned with crosses, photos, icons — things people leave to mark their pilgrimage. A low front altar is layered with thick candle wax, flowers and a pantheon of black saints, Madonnas and African deities like the sea goddess Yemanja of the Yoruba religion.

Despite its unkempt state, this chapel, the Capilla de los Negros, attracts a little over 11,000 tourists each year who come to see a church named for the freed slaves who built it in 1861.

The chapel is “where we can locate ourselves and point out the truth that we are here,” said Soledad Luis, an Afro-Argentine from the tourism office who led me through the space. She knows it well. It sits on a plot her great-grandfather helped secure, and her family still gathers there weekly for a meal.

Capilla de los Negros feels off the beaten path, but it is part of a list of slave sites in Argentina created in 2009 by Unesco. Its inclusion signals the growing consciousness of African heritage in Argentina, seemingly the most Europeanized country in South America.

Argentina at one time had a robust African presence because of the slaves who were brought there, but its black population was decimated by myriad factors including heavy casualties on the front lines in the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay in the 1860s; a yellow fever epidemic that rich, white Argentines largely escaped; and interracial offspring who, after successive generations, shed their African culture along with their features. And European immigration swelled the white population — 2.27 million Italians came between 1861 and 1914.

The demographic shift has been sharp. In 1800, on the eve of revolution with Spain, blacks made up more than a third of the country, 69,000 of a total population of 187,000, according to George Reid Andrews’s 2004 book “Afro-Latin America.” In 2010, 150,000 identified themselves as Afro-Argentine, or a mere 0.365 percent of a population of 41 million people, according to the census, the first in the country’s history that counted race.

But the culture the slaves brought with them remained. And in recent years, Argentina has gone from underselling its African roots to rediscovering them, as academics, archaeologists, immigrants and a nascent civil rights movement have challenged the idea that African and Argentine are mutually exclusive terms…

Read the entire article here.

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African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2013-06-21 03:29Z by Steven

African ancestry of the population of Buenos Aires

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 128, Issue 1
pages 164–170, September 2005
DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20083

Laura Fejerman
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

Francisco R. Carnese
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Alicia S. Goicoechea
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Sergio A. Avena
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Cristina B. Dejean
Sección Antropología Biológica
Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Ryk H. Ward (1943-2003)
Institute of Biological Anthropology
University of Oxford

The population of Argentina today does not have a “visible” black African component. However, censuses conducted during most of the 19th century registered up to 30% of individuals of African origin living in Buenos Aires city. What has happened to this African influence? Have all individuals of African origin died, as lay people believe? Or is it possible that admixture with the European immigrants made the African influence “invisible?” We investigated the African contribution to the genetic pool of the population of Buenos Aires, Argentina, typing 12 unlinked autosomal DNA markers in a sample of 90 individuals. The results of this analysis suggest that 2.2% (SEM = 0.9%) of the genetic ancestry of the Buenos Aires population is derived from Africa. Our analysis of individual admixture shows that those alleles that have a high frequency in populations of African origin tend to concentrate among 8 individuals in our sample. Therefore, although the admixture estimate is relatively low, the actual proportion of individuals with at least some African influence is approximately 10%. The evidence we are presenting of African ancestry is consistent with the known historical events that led to the drastic reduction of the Afro-Argentine population during the second half of the 19th century. However, as our results suggest, this reduction did not mean a total disappearance of African genes from the genetic pool of the Buenos Aires population.

Read or purchase the article here.

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In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-06-17 01:21Z by Steven

In Buenos Aires, Researchers Exhume Long-Unclaimed African Roots

The Washington Post
2005-05-05

Monte Reel

BUENOS AIRES — Their disappearance is one of Argentina’s most enduring mysteries. In 1810, black residents accounted for about 30 percent of the population of Buenos Aires. By 1887, however, their numbers had plummeted to 1.8 percent.

So where did they go? The answer, it turns out, is nowhere.

Popular myth has offered two historical hypotheses: a yellow fever epidemic in 1871 that devastated black urban neighborhoods, and a brutal war with Paraguay in the 1860s that put many black Argentines on the front lines.

But two new studies are challenging those old notions, using distinct methods: a door-to-door census to determine how many Argentines consider themselves black, and an analysis of DNA samples to detect traces of African ancestry in those who consider themselves white.

The results are only partially compiled, but they suggest that many of the black Argentines did not vanish; they just faded into the mixed-race populace and became lost to demography. According to some researchers, as many as 10 percent of Buenos Aires residents are partly descended from black Argentines but have no idea.

“People for years have accepted the idea that there are no black people in Argentina,” said Miriam Gomes, a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires who is part black and considers herself Afro-Argentine. “Even the schoolbooks here accepted this as a fact. But where did that leave me?”…

…”Argentina was interested in presenting itself as a white country,” said George Reid Andrews, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh who has specialized in black history in Latin America. “Its ideologues and writers put a great emphasis on the yellow fever epidemic and the war, and it was feasible to pretend that the black population had simply disappeared as immigration exploded.” …

… But personal definitions do not count when analyzing DNA, which is what a group of scientists from the University of Buenos Aires and Oxford University in England did earlier this year. After collecting blood samples at a local hospital, they searched for genetic markers that indicate African ancestry. The results, to be published this year in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggested that 10 percent of those who identified themselves as white were, in part, descendants of black Argentines.

“A lot of people were very surprised by this,” said Francisco R. Carnese, a geneticist at the University of Buenos Aires and co-author of the study. “When you walk around Buenos Aires, you don’t see signs of African ancestry. But you see it in the genes.” ..

Read the entire article here.

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