Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Blacks and Blackness in Central America: Between Race and Place Paperback – October 18, 2010
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
"This important collection of essays puts Central America firmly on the African Diaspora map. "Blacks and Blackness in Central America" is the one-stop volume that gathers together the leading scholars of the topic. They offer clear windows into their many years of research and discovery, collectively convincing the reader that Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica were far from marginal to the historical trajectories of people of African descent in the Americas."--Matthew Restall, author of "The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan"
Top customer reviews
Gudmundson's and Wolfe's volume challenges scholars to reconsider popular discourse of agency and actors.
"The very same Hispanic or mestizo legislators and intellectuals discussed by Hooker as creators of Atlantic or Black otherness over the past two centuries are shown by Wolfe to have been mulatto presidents themselves, prior to their reinscription as mestizo or even white figures of commemoration, and by Melendez to have African forbearers in even the most irreproachable elite family trees."
In this sense, these essays challenge popular discourse of race, place and creolization. A key point in Paul Lokken's essay on Angolans in Amatitlan was that legal and social enforcement on racial categories was relatively weak, creating a large population of Afro-descent people of mixed heritage. Although lines often blurred, whites' belief in supremacy maintained oppositional sentiments that relegated Black identity to the margins, allowing for mobilization from both the grassroots and corporate elite of these slave societies whose collective identity sought to undermine oppressive supremacist notions and forces.
One key point that is consistently highlighted in the subtext of this volume is the competing value for the slaves to maintain a standard livelihood and masters to maximize profits. The common assumption in African Diaspora discourse is that whites as powerbrokers of colonial societies are omnipotent, however that is shown to not be the case, especially considering the collective demographic and entrepreneurial power held by Blacks transnationally. A transnational Black identity was maintained from the 1787 Treaty of Paris calling British and Kriol slavers to take their slaves to Belize as well as the British and Kriol Buccaneers raiding Costa Rican Haciendas and exporting slaves and produce. This was also the case with Belize being seen as a place of refuge by elite Black slaves fleeing the Spanish crown.
The aspiration of freedom by Blacks was echoed throughout the essays from Rina Gomez illustrating political and militant agency in her essay on Family and Women's Work to the economic freedom expressed by Russell Lohse in his essay on Cacao and Slavery in Matina that talked about the economic mobility that cacao farming provided slaves. The narrative of discussion provided within this text demonstrates how familial and social networks along with corporate ownership [both legal and illegal] provided a socio-political platform for Blackness to be expressed as a subject rather than object of fait; and more importantly an actor rather than a tool in terms of building the colony/nation-state.
One thing to consider is that the provision of slavery was more often than not dictated by the slaves themselves, especially in consideration to obtaining freedom. If there was no consistency on an international scale, emancipation would have never been considered. If white people were not dying at the hands of revolting Blacks, if slaves were not picking up pitch forks and fighting for their freedom, if house Negroes were not grinding up glass shards and feeding it to their masters, and if field hands were not sabotaging their work, that inhumane institution would have continued to thrive.
The narrative of Black agency is often written within the lens of white supremacy to make it seem as if freedom was given rather than obtained. Gudmundson and Wolfe bring this to the forefront of discourse with Blacks and Blackness in Central America: Race and Place by showing the place that Blacks held in colonial societies. In Blacks in the "White Towns" of Western Nicaragua, Lowel Gudmundson shows how tourism both conjures up past practices of eliminating the native population while at the same time romanticizing historic indigenous culture. One thing to consider is that the Nicaraguan Miskitu population in particular was both native and Afro. Within the narrative of Nicaraguan oppression, revolt, and romanticization, Gudmunson demonstrates how Power-brokers of Afro descent worked from both the grass roots as slaves and natives defying social norms and categories in revolt and elites of mixed ancestry that ultimately worked both in and out of social norms for the benefit of their group.
Gudmundson also shows that a large population of the "White Towns" was of Afro-descent migrating from Grenada, that intermingled with the native population. The prosperity of those towns then created a sort of "culture" that can only be associated with whiteness through a supremacist lens. Juliet Hooker reiterates this point in her essay on Race and the Space of Citizenship. "Nicaraguan officials portrayed Creoles as foreign, inferior, and incapable of managing the political affairs of the Mosquito Coast. "They referred to Creoles as Jamaican Negroes implying that they were foreigners" despite the fact that the Creoles were their prior to the establishment of any governing body.
Mauricio Obando in Afro-descendants in Costa Rica and Nicaragua brings the point of historical Blanqueador via Creole and white supremacist discourse home by begging the question of: "what happened to the descendants of slaves". Obando's essay talks of the process of writing slavery and consequently Blackness out of national histories and how that coincides with Creolization. He does so by showing [visually through pictures] prominent descnedents of slaves who are not seen as such, however have blood-line lineage. Ultimately tying in the conceptual argument of the entire collection by answering the question of what happened to the Blacks by showing that they intermarried, migrated, and were painted white through discourse.