Dr. Brianna Leavitt-Alcántara

People in the U.S. often think of African slavery as a North American story. But the vast majority of enslaved Africans went to Latin America, ten times as many as went to the United States. As one historian puts it  “the heart of the New World African diaspora” lies in Latin America, not the U.S.

This course examines the history of Afro-Latin America from the 15th century conquest era through Independence,  early nation building,  and the abolition of slavery in the 19th century.

We will explore how and why black soldiers helped conquer the Aztecs and defend coastlines against British pirates,  how very different slave systems emerged in Portuguese Brazil versus Spanish America,  how enslaved Africans and Afro-Latinos resisted slavery,  and how and why large free black populations developed and significantly shaped Latin American societies.

We will also consider how religious and racial ideologies relegated Afro-Latinos to the bottom of a caste system and how Afro-Latinos challenged those ideologies over time.

This course is cross-listed with AFST 3191.