This book expands the framework for charting the African Diaspora to Spanish America. Drawing upon a variety of texts from the Spanish American colonies, it explores the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African Diaspora in the Spanish empires. It examines what Leo Garofalo calls the “shape of Diaspora,” tracing its early extension into Iberia in the fifteenth century and its reach beyond the Atlantic basin into the Pacific/Andean territories ever since. The book is organized into three sections. Part 1 discusses voluntary and forced migrations across the Atlantic, focusing on three distinct cases of identity construction that intersect with ongoing debates in African Diaspora scholarship regarding the models of continuity and creolization in the Americas. Part 2 considers how enslaved and free people used their rights as Catholics to present themselves as civilized subjects, loyal Christians, and resisters to slavery. Part 3 shifts the discussion to the family and professional lives of free blacks in nineteenth-century Cuba, with particular emphasis on how they claimed categories of inclusion.
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