Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2019-03-25 13:59Z by Steven

Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain

University of Alabama Press
February 2019
312 pages
9 B&W figures / 3 maps / 23 tables
Trade Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8173-2007-2
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-9220-8

Norah L. A. Gharala, Colonial Latin Americanist and Assistant Professor of World History
Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey

A definitive analysis of the most successful tribute system in the Americas as applied to Afromexicans

During the eighteenth century, hundreds of thousands of free descendants of Africans in Mexico faced a highly specific obligation to the Spanish crown, a tax based on their genealogy and status. This royal tribute symbolized imperial loyalties and social hierarchies. As the number of free people of color soared, this tax became a reliable source of revenue for the crown as well as a signal that colonial officials and ordinary people referenced to define and debate the nature of blackness.

Taxing Blackness:Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain examines the experiences of Afromexicans and this tribute to explore the meanings of race, political loyalty, and legal privileges within the Spanish colonial regime. Norah L. A. Gharala focuses on both the mechanisms officials used to define the status of free people of African descent and the responses of free Afromexicans to these categories and strategies. This study spans the eighteenth century and focuses on a single institution to offer readers a closer look at the place of Afromexican individuals in Bourbon New Spain, which was the most profitable and populous colony of the Spanish Atlantic.

As taxable subjects, many Afromexicans were deeply connected to the colonial regime and ongoing debates about how taxpayers should be defined, whether in terms of reputation or physical appearance. Gharala shows the profound ambivalence, and often hostility, that free people of African descent faced as they navigated a regime that simultaneously labeled them sources of tax revenue and dangerous vagabonds. Some free Afromexicans paid tribute to affirm their belonging and community ties. Others contested what they saw as a shameful imposition that could harm their families for generations. The microhistory includes numerous anecdotes from specific cases and people, bringing their history alive, resulting in a wealth of rural and urban, gender, and family insight.

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The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Religion on 2019-01-29 16:26Z by Steven

The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

Manchester University Press
November 2015
264 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-7849-9120-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5261-3434-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-7849-9635-2

Christina H. Lee, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

  • Provides a counter-point to studies on marginality by focusing on how dominant groups reacted and responded to the social and racial ‘passing’ of lowborns and New Christians
  • Provides a new intervention in our current understanding of how Spanish identity was constructed in the early modern period
  • Uses a vast array of literary and non-literary sources to discuss the social tensions that existed between the established elite and the socially mobile
  • Written in a clear style, accessible to both historians and literary critics

This book explores the Spanish elite’s fixation on social and racial ‘passing’ and ‘passers’, as represented in a wide range of texts. It examines literary and non-literary works produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that express the dominant Spaniards’ anxiety that socially mobile lowborns, Conversos (converted Jews), and Moriscos (converted Muslims) could impersonate and pass for ‘pure’ Christians like themselves. Ultimately, this book argues that while conspicuous sociocultural and ethnic difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society – and therefore the recognition of fundamental sameness. This fascinating and accessible work will appeal to students of Hispanic studies, European history, cultural studies, Spanish literature and Spanish history.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: The usurpation of nobility and lowborn passers
    • 1. Theorising and practicing nobility
    • 2. The forgery of nobility in literary texts
  • Part II: Conversos and the threat of sameness
    • 3. Spotting Converso blood in official and unofficial discourses
    • 4. The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts
  • Part III: Moriscos and the reassurance of difference
    • 5. Imagining the Morisco problem
    • 6. Desirable Moors and Moriscos in literary texts
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Oceania, Religion, Social Science, South Africa on 2018-08-03 01:27Z by Steven

Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 38 (2018)
2018-08-01

Publication Cover

  • Introduction
    • Critical Mixed Race in Global Perspective: An Introduction / Erica Chito Childs
  • Hierarchies of Mixing: Navigations and Negotiations
    • An Unwanted Weed: Children of Cross-region Unions Confront Intergenerational Stigma of Caste, Ethnicity and Religion / Reena Kukreja
    • Mixed Race Families in South Africa: Naming and Claiming a Location / Heather M. Dalmage
    • Negotiating the (Non)Negotiable: Connecting ‘Mixed-Race’ Identities to ‘Mixed-Race’ Families / Mengxi Pang
    • Linguistic Cultural Capital among Descendants of Mixed Couples in Catalonia, Spain: Realities and Inequalities / Dan Rodríguez-García, Miguel Solana-Solana, Anna Ortiz-Guitart & Joanna L. Freedman
    • ‘There is Nothing Wrong with Being a Mulatto’: Structural Discrimination and Racialised Belonging in Denmark / Mira C. Skadegård & Iben Jensen
    • Exceptionalism with Non-Validation: The Social Inconsistencies of Being Mixed Race in Australia / Stephanie B. Guy
  • Mixed Matters Through a Wider Lens
    • Recognising Selves in Others: Situating Dougla Manoeuvrability as Shared Mixed-Race Ontology / Sue Ann Barratt & Aleah Ranjitsingh
    • What’s Love Got To Do With It? Emotional Authority and State Regulation of Interracial/national Couples in Ireland / Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain
    • Re-viewing Race and Mixedness: Mixed Race in Asia and the Pacific / Zarine L. Rocha

Read or purchase this special issue here.

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Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-04-04 02:33Z by Steven

Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Age of Revolutions
2018-04-02

Charlton W. Yingling, Assistant Professor of History
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky


“El ciudadano Hedouville habla al mentor de los negros…,” Jean-Louis Dubroca, Vida de J. J. Dessalines, gefe de los Negros de Santo Domingo (Mexico, 1806), University of Virginia Slavery Images Database, JCB_67-270-3. This well-known image is cropped to draw attention away from the figures’ faces and to their façades.

In May 1794, Governor Joaquín García of Spanish Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic) praised the “brave spirit” of “Carlos Gabriel Lesec, mulato,” a term denoting European and African heritage. As an officer in Spain’s Black Auxiliaries, Lesec had just repulsed troops of the French Republic in a resounding victory at Santa Susana on the border with Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). As the third anniversary of the Haitian Revolution approached, thousands of ex-slaves had expanded their liberatory war under Spanish flags and occupied nearly half of Saint-Domingue.[1] These “Black Auxiliaries” of Spain enjoyed limited manumissions and material support in their war against the French, their former exploiters. Their leaders, Jean-François and Georges Biassou, represented some of the earliest participants in the initial slave revolts of 1791. Those who ascended later, such as Toussaint Louverture and his officer Charles Lesec, seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at upward mobility by punishing their former French oppressors. Despite these victories, García was dismayed by the “disunion that reigns between the black chiefs Biassou and Toussaint,” who along with Jean-François were Lesec’s superiors.[2] Six months earlier French commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax had begun tactical, practical emancipations, in part to attract black supporters due to desperation over his opponents’ successes…

Read the entire article here.

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Searching For A Motherland As A Black Latina

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-04-02 02:36Z by Steven

Searching For A Motherland As A Black Latina

The Huffington Post
2018-03-30

Maria V. Luna, Associate Lecturer
Goldsmiths University of London


Author Maria V. Luna in the Dominican Republic on her way to celebrate carnival in 2011.
Maria V. Luna

For Black Latinx in the U.S., bicultural, bilingual ― if they are lucky ― and born to immigrant parents, there is no motherland.

Though 25 percent of U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, we are not always made to feel at home in our own country. To be Latinx in the U.S. is to encounter xenophobic rhetoric from the top of our nation’s political leadership down to its base. To be black Latinx is to discover that xenophobia layered with anti-black rhetoric brews even among our own ethnic group.

Scholars Miriam Jiménez Román and the late Juan Flores consider W.E.B. Du Bois when describing the experience of the Afro-Latino in the U.S. as a triple consciousness — an awareness of being black, Latino and American. It is an elastic awareness, a way of moving in the world that has been woefully underexplored in America and in Spanish-language media and entertainment.

As an Afro-Latina, I often wondered: Where are my people? Where are those who crave mangú for breakfast, a Cuban sandwich for lunch and tres leches dessert? Where are those who love the “One Day at a Time” reboot with a Latin cast but winced when Lydia, played by Rita Moreno, repeats with conviction, “Cubans are white!” Didn’t abuela dance to Celia Cruz every morning as she made breakfast?

As soon as I could, I journeyed far from New Jersey to find my people. I looked for my kindred in the Dominican Republic, in Brazil, in Spain and in the maternal monolith I once imagined Africa to be.

I was looking for that mythical interstitial place where my blackness and Latinidad could peacefully coexist. This is what I found…

Read the entire article here.

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National Identity, Citizenship, and Belonging: Afro-descendants in Spain and Catalonia – Agnes

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2017-12-05 22:07Z by Steven

National Identity, Citizenship, and Belonging: Afro-descendants in Spain and Catalonia – Agnes

The Afropean: Adventures in Afro Europe
2017-10-27

Abena Wariebi

The second excerpt from interviews taken from a Master’s thesis carried out by Abena Wariebi at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.

Entitled “National Identity, Citizenship, and Belonging: Afro-descendants in Spain and Catalonia”, the thesis is an investigation of black identities in Barcelona, specifically exploring what it means to be black and Spanish, or black and Catalan.

These interviews represent a small part of the black community in Barcelona. This thesis is in no way conclusive or overall encompassing. It does not represent the views or opinions of all Afro-descendants in Barcelona or Spain. Nevertheless, these accounts are powerful, enriching, and demonstrate the unquestionable solidarity that exists within the diaspora.

Name: Agnes
Age: 20
Profession: Teacher and Photographer


Agnes, teacher and photographer

“I think my mum is the only person in the world who thinks I’m Spanish. Because when I go out on the street, when like a policeman comes and they see my passport or whatever they keep asking ‘oh but where are you from? This says Spain; this says you were born in Barcelona but where are you from? Where is your dad from? Where is your mum from? So, I feel like, I don’t want to be Spanish.

I really feel like I’m Cameroonian. And in a way my dad always tried to raise me to feel like I’m not Spanish, I’m Cameroonian.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Guest Post: A View from the Past: The Contingencies of Racialization in 15th- and 16th-Century Iberia

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History on 2016-12-12 22:18Z by Steven

Guest Post: A View from the Past: The Contingencies of Racialization in 15th- and 16th-Century Iberia

The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History
2016-12-12

Marley-Vincent Lindsey
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

When Paul Gilroy wrote his now-classic critique of cultural nationalism in 1995, he conceived a Black Atlantic that was a geo-political amalgamation of Africa, America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Gilroy was particularly interested in the construction of a modern, post-colonial cultural space in which slavery remained a part of modern black consciousness. His book is particularly noted for the introduction of race as a critical consideration in exploring the Black Atlantic.

It is fitting then, that we kick off our week-long discussion of the Black Atlantic with a post by Marley-Vincent Lindsey, which explores considerations of race in the Iberian Atlantic. Subsequent posts will consider Black responses to freedom (and unfreedom), historical narrative, race, and of course, power.

Juan Garrido was a typical conquistador: arriving in Hispaniola by 1508, Garrido accompanied Juan Ponce de León in his invasion of Puerto Rico, and was later found with Hernan Cortés in Mexico City. Yet his proofs of service, a portion of which was printed by Francisco Icaza in a collection of autobiographies by the conquistadors and settlers of New Spain, made a unique note: de color negro, or “of Black color.”1

What significance was the color of his skin? From our crystal ball of future development, the answer is obvious: Spain had developed a particularly unique concern for racializing individuals, and the Iberian excursions throughout the western and southern coasts of Africa added fuel for “hardening identities” of what was significant about being Black or White. This unique historical contingency, argued James Sweet, was the genesis for American conceptions of race.2

Supporting this construction is the intuitive power of 1492, when Columbus invaded the ocean blue. Iberia’s box score for the year also included the seizure of Granada and the expulsion of Jews who refused conversion. For the century prior, there existed a rich vocabulary through which differences of religion were literally racialized: by 1611, Corrubias’ Spanish dictionary defined raza in reference to humans as being bad lineage, like Jewish or Muslim ancestry. Medievalists like David Nirenberg have traced these discourses through which raza gained biological potency through Castilian and Aragonese experiences with Jews and Moors.3

Read the entire article here.

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Transatlantic Obligations: Creating the Bonds of Family in Conquest-Era Peru and Spain

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-11-14 20:45Z by Steven

Transatlantic Obligations: Creating the Bonds of Family in Conquest-Era Peru and Spain

Oxford University Press
2015-12-31
264 Pages
9 illus.
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780199768578
Paperback ISBN: 9780199768585

Jane E. Mangan, Professor of History and Latin American Studies
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina

  • The first systematic study of families in sixteenth century Peru with a transatlantic focus
  • Traces family obligations connecting Peru and Spain through dowries, bequests, legal powers, and letters

The sixteenth-century changes wrought by expansion of Spanish empire into Peru shaped the ways of being a family in colonial Peru. Even as migration, race mixture, and transculturation took place, family members fulfilled obligations to one another by adapting custom to a changing world. Family began to shift when, from the moment of their arrival in 1532, Spaniards were joined with elite indigenous women in political marriage-like alliances. Almost immediately, a generation of mestizos was born that challenged the hierarchies of colonial society. In response, the Spanish Crown began to promote the marriage of these men and the travel of Spanish women to Peru to promote good customs and even serve as surrogate parents. Other reactions came from wives in Spain who, abandoned by husbands, sought assistance to fulfill family duties. For indigenous families, the pressures of colonialism prompted migration to cities. By mid-century, the increase of Spanish migration to Peru changed the social landscape, but did not halt mixed-race marriages. The book posits that late sixteenth-century cities, specifically Lima and Arequipa, were host to indigenous and Spanish families but also to numerous ‘blended’ families borne of a process of mestizaje. In its final chapter, the legacies for the next generation reveal how Spanish fathers sometimes challenged law with custom and sentiment to establish inheritance plans for their children. By tracing family obligations connecting Peru and Spain through dowries, bequests, legal powers, and letters, Transatlantic Obligations presents a powerful call to rethink sixteenth-century definitions of family.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Matchmaking: Law, Language, and the Conquest-Era Family Tree
  • Chapter 2: Removal: For the Love and Labor of Mixed-Race Children
  • Chapter 3: Marriage: Vida Maridable in a Transatlantic Context
  • Chapter 4: Journey: Family Strategies and the Transatlantic Voyage
  • Chapter 5: Adaptation: Creating Custom in the Colonial Family
  • Chapter 6: Legacy: Recognition, Inheritance, and Law on the Transatlantic Family Tree
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Perception and the Mulatto Body in Inquisitorial Spain: A Neurohistory*

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2016-04-18 01:51Z by Steven

Perception and the Mulatto Body in Inquisitorial Spain: A Neurohistory*

Past and Present
First published online: 2016-04-16
DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtw001

Cristian Berco, Associate Professor of History
Bishop’s University, Quebec

On 1 July 1625, their hands issuing from Dominican cloaks as black as night, inquisitors in Madrid voted to arrest Luisa Nuñez on suspicion of practising love magic and divination using a stolen altar stone. It fell to the inquisitorial secretary Gaspar Isidro de Argüello to lead the arrest. Since witnesses had provided no physical description of the suspect, all Argüello had to go by was a name and address. Despite this lack of information, on Luisa’s opening the door Argüello rapidly assessed her and labelled her with a racializing term plucked out of the air: ‘mulatta’. However, this categorization was problematic. Luisa would never refer to herself in this way, either in testimony or in the formal life narrative she would recount before the inquisitors. According to her, she was the American-born daughter of a Spanish notary and a Mexican Indian woman, and was now a citizen of Madrid and wife to a Galician courier.

While the label ‘mulatta’ embodied ambiguous meanings typical of the era (it could refer to either skin colour or category of being), its application was important. Not only did the word conjure up a negative stereotype particularly detrimental to a suspected sorceress, but the label continued to define Luisa as a racialized being long after her death. Even the modern catalogue containing her trial specifically uses the term in its one-line summary. In a way, the increasing tendency of early modern Europeans to connect the phenotype of colonized and enslaved peoples with inherent negative characteristics not only victimized Luisa but also reflected the long-term emergence of race as an ontological category. However, because such identity categories define our world-view today, to the point where we deploy them automatically, we tend to think of the cognitive process behind racialization as…

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Preference and prejudice: Does intermarriage erode negative ethno-racial attitudes between groups in Spain?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-03-30 15:24Z by Steven

Preference and prejudice: Does intermarriage erode negative ethno-racial attitudes between groups in Spain?

Ethnicities
Published online before print 2016-03-28
DOI: 10.1177/1468796816638404

Dan Rodríguez-García, Associate Professor
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Miguel Solana-Solana
Department of Geography
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Miranda J. Lubbers, Ramón y Cajal Researcher
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

This paper challenges the idea – rooted in classic assimilation theory – that intermarriage clearly erodes social and ethno-racial boundaries and negative attitudes between groups. Drawing on narratives from 58 immigrants of seven different origin countries residing in Catalonia, Spain, who are in romantic partnerships with Spanish-born people, we focus on preferences and prejudices related to mixing. We find that the members of exogamous couples both suffer social discrimination regarding the crossing of ethnocultural borders, particularly from their respective family members – a rejection that is based on negative stereotypes and preconceptions linked to the partner’s origin, phenotype or ethnocultural characteristics, such as religion, in intersection with gender. More significantly, we also find that ethno-racial prejudices (particularly when referring to marriage preferences for the respondents and their children) and discriminatory attitudes (towards one’s own and other immigrant minority groups) also exist among intermarried couples themselves. In sum, we question the role of mixed unions as a diluter of differences and an accelerator of integration.

Read or purchase the article here.

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