Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2022-08-25 01:01Z by Steven

Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Cambridge University Press
June 2022
Hardback ISBN: 9781316514382
eBook ISBN: 9781009086905

Miguel A. Valerio, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Washington University, St Louis, Missouri

Sovereign Joy explores the performance of festive black kings and queens among Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640. This fascinating study illustrates how the first African and Afro-creole people in colonial Mexico transformed their ancestral culture into a shared identity among Afro-Mexicans, with particular focus on how public festival participation expressed their culture and subjectivities, as well as redefined their colonial condition and social standing. By analyzing this hitherto understudied aspect of Afro-Mexican Catholic confraternities in both literary texts and visual culture, Miguel A. Valerio teases out the deeply ambivalent and contradictory meanings behind these public processions and festivities that often re-inscribed structures of race and hierarchy. Were they markers of Catholic subjecthood, and what sort of corporate structures did they create to project standing and respectability? Sovereign Joy examines many of these possibilities, and in the process highlights the central place occupied by Africans and their descendants in colonial culture. Through performance, Afro-Mexicans affirmed their being: the sovereignty of joy, and the joy of sovereignty.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: Sovereign Joy
  • 1. ‘With their king and queen’: Early Colonial Mexico, the Origins of Festive Black Kings and Queens, and the Birth of the Black Atlantic
  • 2. ‘Rebel Black Kings (and Queens)’?: Race, Colonial Psychosis, and Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens
  • 3. ‘Savage Kings’ and Baroque Festival Culture: Afro-Mexicans in the Celebration of the Beatification of Ignatius of Loyola
  • 4. ‘Black and Beautiful’: Afro-Mexican Women Performing Creole Identity
  • Conclusion: Where did the black court go?
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2022-05-16 18:54Z by Steven

Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Latino(a) Research Review
Volume 7, Number 1 (2008)
pages 30-58

Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Christina A. Sue, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Colorado, Boulder

In the PBS film series, Black in Latin America, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes on the ambitious task of depicting blackness in six countries – the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru – to a primarily “American” audience. Given that Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest concentration of persons of African descent outside of Africa, the documentary is an important one. Gates’ coverage of “blackness”1 in these countries is comprehensive, spanning from the time of slavery to the present, with a primary focus on the cultural contributions, social experiences, and identities of individuals of African descent in these regions. However, Gates’ research traditionally has not focused on race in Latin America and, as scholars positioned more centrally in this field, we found some of his characterizations and treatment of the topic to be problematic. In this and the following commentary articles, scholars of race in the featured countries engage in a critical analysis of the documentary.

We begin with an examination of Gates’ presentation of blackness in Mexico and Peru. In contrast to the other countries featured in the series, Mexico and Peru fall within mestizo America; their populations are mainly comprised of mestizos2 and Indigenous peoples and they have relatively small populations of African descent. Moreover, blackness is marginalized in the historical narratives and national ideologies (state-sponsored belief systems) of these countries. Consequently, many people are unaware of the nations’ African heritage. The film endeavors to expose this hidden history…

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Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2022-05-12 16:41Z by Steven

Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

The Los Angeles Times
2022-05-12

Fidel Martinez

“We didn’t receive the rights of white people, only the illusion.” (Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Hi folks, Fidel here. Every once in a while, I’ll ask a guest writer to take over the main story. We’ve experimented with formats here and there — we recently ran an illustration — and this week it’s no different. Below is an excerpt from Julissa Arce’s memoir, “You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.”

The first colonizers to arrive in what is now the United States were not the pilgrims in 1620. It was the Spanish, who came to New Mexico in 1598. The oldest capital in the country, Santa Fe, was founded in 1610 by a Spaniard who was born in Mexico. This is not a point of pride but a part of our complicated story. Along with Spanish colonizers looking for riches, priests looking for souls to save, many Indigenous people came as well — some as servants, others forcibly to quench the lust of men, some as wives, and many more for endless other reasons.

After gaining its independence from Spain, Mexican authorities attempted to increase the population in its northern territory — a land that stretched all the way up the west coast of California and across to the Rocky Mountains — and so welcomed Anglo immigrants. By 1834, more than 30,000 of them lived in Texas, heavily outnumbering the Mexican population of 7,800.*

Mexico abolished African slavery in 1829, before the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but those Anglo immigrants had brought with them more than 5,000 enslaved people in violation of Mexican law. This is where the story needs some revision. Texas’ independence from Mexico and eventual annexation into the United States is often told as a freedom fight. But Anglo Texans wanted to be “free” in order to keep Black people enslaved. They became legends while stealing Black bodies, stealing Mexican land, and terrorizing native Tejanos. The Mexicans who stayed in Texas were treated as second-class citizens, an attitude that still pollinates along with the bluebonnets, their stories lost to white historians. The horrors that Mexicans suffered in Texas at the hands of Anglos have been buried in forgotten graves, in cemeteries that no longer exist. However, in Texas history classes, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and Jim Bowie die heroes at the Alamo, killed by the vicious Mexican army — a story still retold in museums and textbooks. They were visitors, undocumented immigrants even, and by proclaiming self-rule, they forced Mexico into war….

Read the entire article here.

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The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Women on 2022-04-21 17:01Z by Steven

The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico

Yale University Press
2022-04-12
296 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
9 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780300258066

Danielle Terrazas Williams, Lecturer in the School of History
University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

A restoration of the agency and influence of free African-descended women in colonial Mexico through their traces in archives

The Capital of Free Women examines how African-descended women strove for dignity in seventeenth-century Mexico. Free women in central Veracruz, sometimes just one generation removed from slavery, purchased land, ran businesses, managed intergenerational wealth, and owned slaves of African descent. Drawing from archives in Mexico, Spain, and Italy, Danielle Terrazas Williams explores the lives of African-descended women across the economic spectrum, evaluates their elite sensibilities, and challenges notions of race and class in the colonial period.

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The White Indians of Mexican Cinema

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2022-04-21 17:00Z by Steven

The White Indians of Mexican Cinema: Racial Masquerade throughout the Golden Age

State University of New York Press
April 2022
326 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781438488035

Mónica García Blizzard, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
Emory University, Atlantic, Georgia

The White Indians of Mexican Cinema theorizes the development of a unique form of racial masquerade—the representation of Whiteness as Indigeneity—during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, from the 1930s to the 1950s. Adopting a broad decolonial perspective while remaining grounded in the history of local racial categories, Mónica García Blizzard argues that this trope works to reconcile two divergent discourses about race in postrevolutionary Mexico: the government-sponsored celebration of Indigeneity and mestizaje (or the process of interracial and intercultural mixing), on the one hand, and the idealization of Whiteness, on the other. Close readings of twenty films and primary source material illustrate how Mexican cinema has mediated race, especially in relation to gender, in ways that project national specificity, but also reproduce racist tendencies with respect to beauty, desire, and protagonism that survive to this day. This sweeping survey illuminates how Golden Age films produced diverse, even contradictory messages about the place of Indigeneity in the national culture.

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From Multiracial to Monoracial: The Formation of Mexican American Identities in the U.S. Southwest

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science, United States on 2022-04-21 16:51Z by Steven

From Multiracial to Monoracial: The Formation of Mexican American Identities in the U.S. Southwest

Genealogy
Volume 6, Issue 2 (2022) (Special Issue: Beyond the Frontiers of Mixedness: New Approaches to Intermarriage, Multiethnicity, and Multiracialism)
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy6020028
21 pages

G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

The racialization of Mexican Americans in northern Mexico, that is, the U.S. Southwest, following the Anglo-Americanization during the second half of the nineteenth century, is an excellent case study of the historical formations of Anglo-American and Spanish American racial orders. Both racial orders were based on a hierarchy that privileged Whiteness and stigmatized Blackness. Yet Spanish America’s high levels of miscegenation resulted in ternary orders allowing for gradation in and fluidity within racial categories, in addition to the formation of multiracial identities, including those of individuals with African ancestry. Anglo-America was characterized by restrictions on miscegenation and more precise definitions of and restrictions on racial categories. This prohibited the formation of multiracial identities while buttressing a binary racial order that broadly necessitated single-race (monoracial) identification as either White or non-White, and more specifically, as White or Black, given their polar extremes in racial hierarchy. Within this order, hypodescent applies most stringently to those with African ancestry through the one-drop rule, which designates as Black all such individuals. This article examines monoracialization through historical processes of Mexican–American identity formations. Over the twentieth century, this shifted from White to Brown, but without any acknowledgment of African ancestry.

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Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in the Postrevolutionary Mexico

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2022-02-23 19:59Z by Steven

Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in the Postrevolutionary Mexico

University Press of Florida
2018-08-28
250 pages
6×9
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781683400394
Paper ISBN 13: 9781683403104

David S. Dalton, Assistant Professor of Spanish
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

After the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1917, postrevolutionary leaders hoped to assimilate the country’s racially diverse population into one official mixed-race identity—the mestizo. This book shows that as part of this vision, the Mexican government believed it could modernize “primitive” Indigenous peoples through technology in the form of education, modern medicine, industrial agriculture, and factory work. David Dalton takes a close look at how authors, artists, and thinkers—some state-funded, some independent—engaged with official views of Mexican racial identity from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Dalton surveys essays, plays, novels, murals, and films that portray indigenous bodies being fused, or hybridized, with technology. He examines José Vasconcelos’s essay “The Cosmic Race” and the influence of its ideologies on mural artists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. He discusses the theme of introducing Amerindians to medical hygiene and immunizations in the films of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández. He analyzes the portrayal of indigenous monsters in the films of El Santo, as well as Carlos Olvera’s critique of postrevolutionary worldviews in the novel Mejicanos en el espacio.

Incorporating the perspectives of posthumanism and cyborg studies, Dalton shows that technology played a key role in race formation in Mexico throughout the twentieth century. This cutting-edge study offers fascinating new insights into the culture of mestizaje, illuminating the attitudes that inform Mexican race relations in the present day.

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Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2022-02-09 03:42Z by Steven

Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Tampa Bay Times
2019-08-29

J. Michael Francis, Hough Family Endowed Chair
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Gary Mormino, Professor emeritus of History
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Rachel Sanderson, Associate Director, La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Artistic rendering of Luisa de Abrego and others [ KATE GODFREY | University of South Florida, St. Petersburg ]

Every 16th century Spanish expedition to Florida included Africans, both free and enslaved.

On Jan. 5, 1595, an infant boy named Esteban was baptized in the small Spanish garrison town of St. Augustine. In the priest’s three-line baptism entry, Esteban’s mother is identified only by her first name, Gratia. Described as a slave owned by a Spanish woman named Catalina, Gratia was one of perhaps 50 slaves who lived in St. Augustine at the end of the 16th century. And like Gratia, most of the town’s other slaves appear only briefly in the historical record, with few personal details besides a Christian name: Simón, María, Agustín, Francisca, Ana, Baltasar, Felipe or Ambrosio.

Collectively, their long-forgotten stories document and complement a remarkable history that dates back more than a century before the first slaves reached Virginia in 1619. They portray a society that was fluid and eclectic. By 1619, La Florida’s population included Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians, French, Flemish, Germans, two Irishmen, West Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and a diverse group of Native Americans. In other words, early Florida reflected a population that resembled modern America.

Floridanos of African descent were present from the earliest Spanish expeditions to the peninsula. Most readers are familiar with the founding myth of Florida and Juan Ponce de León’s alleged search for the Fountain of Youth. However, his 1513 voyage takes on a different complexion when we understand the crew’s composition, which included several free blacks. One of them, Juan Garrido, a native of West Africa, later participated in Hernando Cortés’s 1519 conquest of Mexico, where he lived over the next two decades, participating in numerous conquest expeditions. In a lengthy petition submitted to the Spanish Crown in 1538, Garrido highlighted his three-decade career as a “conquistador,” adding that he commissioned the construction of Mexico City’s first Christian chapel and that he was the one who introduced wheat into Mexico

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The woman defending Black lives on the border, including her own

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2021-12-28 02:20Z by Steven

The woman defending Black lives on the border, including her own

The Los Angeles Times
2021-12-27

Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Houston Bureau Chief
Photography by Gina Ferazzi

Black border activist Felicia Rangel-Samponaro walks along a line of migrants at a border camp clinic Dec. 6 in Reynosa, Mexico. The nonprofit Sidewalk School she founded three years ago provides education and other services. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

REYNOSA, Mexico — So much of her is hyphenated, not just her name: Felicia Rangel-Samponaro. With caramel skin and curly brown hair that’s often tied back, she can pass as Latina.

But she identifies as Black.

On the Texas-Mexico border, she’s emerged as a vigorous defender of immigrants, and that work often forces her to reckon with how race and ethnicity — real and perceived — shape lives on the border, including her own.

“There’s a lot of oppression, discrimination and racism that goes on, on both sides of the border,” she said…

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How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2021-12-21 03:40Z by Steven

How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America

Nature
Number 600 (2021-12-13)
pages 374-378
DOI: 10.1038/d41586-021-03622-z

Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Science Journalist
Mexico City, Mexico

Genetic studies have found a striking amount of diversity among people in Mexico. Credit: Stephania Corpi Arnaud for Nature

Researchers are trying to dismantle the flawed concept of homogeneous racial mixing that has fostered discrimination in Mexico, Brazil and other countries.

Nicéa Quintino Amauro always knew who she was.

She was born in Campinas, the last city in Brazil to prohibit slavery in 1888. She grew up in a Black neighbourhood, with a Black family. And a lot of her childhood was spent in endless meetings organized by the Unified Black Movement, the most notable Black civil-rights organization in Brazil, which her parents helped to found to fight against centuries-old racism in the country. She knew she was Black.

But in the late 1980s, when Amauro was around 13 years old, she was told at school that Brazilians were not Black. They were not white, either. Nor any other race. They were considered to be mestiços, or pardos, terms rooted in colonial caste distinctions that signify a tapestry of European, African and Indigenous backgrounds. And as one single mixed people, they were all equal to each other.

The idea felt odd. Wrong, even. “To me, it seemed quite strange,” says Amauro, now a chemist at the Federal University of Ubêrlandia in Minas Gerais and a member of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers. “How can everyone be equal if racism exists? It doesn’t make sense.”

Amauro’s concerns echo across Latin America, where generations of people have been taught that they are the result of a long history of mixture between different ancestors who all came, or were forced, to live in the region…

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