History Department
History Department

Workshop: "Africans and Afro-descendants in New Spain's Atlantic and Pacific" by Norah Gharala, University of Houston (Latin American Colloquium)

Tue, November 12, 2019 | RLP 1.302D (Glickman Conf. Center)

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Biography and microhistory represent fruitful ways to examine and retell the stories of enslaved Africans in early Latin America. Yet, the sources that describe individual Africans in New Spain are often fragmentary. This workshop will discuss the sometimes fleeting stories people of African descent told about themselves within colonial institutions. I will also describe methodological and geographic shifts in my work in the context of my second book project.
 
Norah L. A. Gharala is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Houston with research and teaching interests in colonial Mexico and its global connections. Professor Gharala's first book, Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain (University of Alabama Press, 2019), examines taxation in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world from the perspectives of free Afromexicans, local officials, and fiscal bureaucrats. Using petitions and lawsuits related to royal tributes, free people of African descent sought to shape colonial ideas of blackness, subjecthood, and genealogy. Gharala's current research examines Pacific and Indian Ocean worlds and their connections to seventeenth-century New Spain using a microhistorical approach. 
 
For our workshop, participants will discuss:

  • Introduction to Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain (University of Alabama Press, February 2019)
  • “‘Not Even Blood Mixture Could Make Them Unworthy’: Political Loyalty and Tribute in Bourbon New Spain.” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 24, no. 2 (Aug. 2018): 195-204.

The Latin American Colloquium series will expose faculty and students on campus (not only history) to historiography in Spanish and Portuguese and to faculty from the South Atlantic, whose work is often ignored. It will also have faculty working on exiting  Latin American related topics. The colloquium will be a conversation, not a formal presentation. We ask participants to read a couple of articles or excerpts from books and come prepared to have a conversation (sometimes in Spanish or Portuguese). The colloquium is convened by Professor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History, UT Austin. To request the readings each week, please email: canizares-esguerra@austin.utexas.edu.

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