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Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Blacks in the Diaspora) Paperback – November 29, 2010


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Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Blacks in the Diaspora) + Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times (Dialogos)
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Product Details

  • Series: Blacks in the Diaspora
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (November 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253223318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253223319
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What light is shed upon old topics when new sources are examined! In this major work on Afro-Mexican and, really, general Spanish American history, Bennett prowls through the neglected Mexican archival records [and] uncovers a vibrant black community developing its own customs and practices.... In place of a weak, shattered individualistic society... Bennett’s Afro-Mexicans were a community that soon counted a majority of freedman living in an urban setting. What a contract with the Afro-Cuban slave society evolving to the east.... Highly recommended." —Choice



"Colonial Blackness makes a crucial contribution to the burgeoning literature on persons of African descent in Spanish America. Focusing on the "middle period" of colonial rule, Herman Bennett challenges us to rethink the cultural history of Afro-Mexicans in ways that go beyond deterministic frameworks of enslavement and oppression. This is an innovative work that will prove fascinating reading for anyone studying colonial Latin America or the African Diaspora." —Barbara Weinstein, New York University



"[T]his text, compelling and persuasive both in theoretical argumentation and use of primary sources, is a major achievement in understanding and reframing Afro-Mexican history. It is highly recommended for the sophisticated specialist already familiar with more conventional studies of Afro-Latin American history, and one who is also necessarily conversant with the terminology of postmodern and postcolonial studies." —Colonial Latin American Historical Review, Vol. 17.1, Winter 2008



"A fascinating study... Bennett... challenges mission historians to go beyond those generalizations that often marginalize people and to examine not only the written sources about such groups but also to examine their behavior, creatively using archival sources that are available." —Larry Nemer, Missiology



"Bennett challenges his readers to rethink the black experience in colonial Mexico.... He persuasively argues that exploitative labor systems, violence, and social hierarchy cannot, by themselves, define Afro-Mexican history; past studies... have flattened out and simplified our view of people of color, ignoring their private lives and their efforts at community formation. To put it another way, the slavery paradigm has overwhelmed alternate narratives of 'freedom' and 'blackness.' Bennett seeks to bring these hidden narratives to light." —Robert Douglas Cope, Brown University



What light is shed upon old topics when new sources are examined! In this major work on Afro-Mexican and, really, general Spanish American history, Bennett (CUNY) prowls through the neglected Mexican archival records dealing with marriages (matrimonios) and religious peccadilloes (bienes nacionales, inquisicion). Essentially ignoring the traditional topics of enslavement, labor laws, work discipline, and resistance, Bennett uncovers a vibrant black community developing its own customs and practices. The author focuses on the years 1622-1788, in the process covering the often-overlooked 17th century, in which New Spain had the largest collection of individuals of African descent in the New World. Bennett reveals a black society in which creolization took place rapidly, Christianization happened so fast that Afro-Mexicans accepted and manipulated with aplomb church regulations on marriage and family, and a community existed that could mobilize a legion of grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, and godparents as witnesses for routine legal questions. In place of a weak, shattered individualistic society dealing with the so-called "social death" caused by slavery, Bennett's Afro-Mexicans were a community that soon counted a majority of freedmen living in an urban setting. What a contrast with the Afro-Cuban slave society evolving to the east in the Gulf of Mexico! Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels/libraries. -- ChoiceJ. A. Lewis, Western Carolina University, January 2010



"A powerful piece of revisionist history." —Ben Vinson, Johns Hopkins University



"" —Bulletin of Latin American Research

About the Author

Herman L. Bennett is Professor of History at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640 (IUP, 2003).


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Lilienthal on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the one hand, exploring the issue of freedom Afro-Mexicans lived through the rights of being Christianized was excellent in terms of expanding Diasporic studies beyond the typical study on their inferiority status in colonial Mexican society. Utilizing Christian matrimony as the inaugural point to living a free life, Bennett demonstrated that they were free to exercise control over their bodies and families because they were Catholic and through their Christian relations. On the other hand, Bennett ignored research that could have been used to further strengthen his point, even if it countered his argument. Often times, Bennett made broad generalizations. Another negative point was the knocking down of straw men and direct scathing attacks on other scholars. One gets the impression that Bennett did this in order to gain attention for the purposes of advancing his career, i.e. full tenure or emeritus status.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Cendejez on August 21, 2014
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Very detailed writing on the folks of Aftican ancestry, including those of mixed ancestry.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By stanley v woodard on February 11, 2013
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Unrecognized history, especially for those from Mexico and Central America through South America. It shows that we are brotheres & sisietrs of African heritage.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marla Neusel on January 3, 2014
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I purchased this book for my daughter who wanted it. She knew about the content and felt it was one she wanted to read.
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