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Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640 [NOOK Book]

Overview

This study of the largest population of free and slave Africans in the New World describes the lives of slave and free blacks in Mexico, the ways that their lives were regulated by the government and the Church, the impact upon them of the Inquisition, their legal status in marriage, and their rights and obligations as Christian subjects. It shows how slaves and free blacks learned to make their way in a culture of state and religious absolutism, as they learned to use Spanish and ecclesiastical legal ...
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Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640

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Overview

This study of the largest population of free and slave Africans in the New World describes the lives of slave and free blacks in Mexico, the ways that their lives were regulated by the government and the Church, the impact upon them of the Inquisition, their legal status in marriage, and their rights and obligations as Christian subjects. It shows how slaves and free blacks learned to make their way in a culture of state and religious absolutism, as they learned to use Spanish and ecclesiastical legal institutions to create a semblance of autonomy while enmeshing themselves with the dominant culture. This study makes clear the malleable nature of African identities in the Atlantic world and the ability of Africans themselves to deploy their own inner resources to survive displacement and oppression.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"Bennett (Rutgers Univ.) relies on church records, especially marriage licenses and Inquisition prosecutions, to reveal aspects of the social and legal lives of Africans and their descendants, slave and free, in colonial Mexico. He begins by establishing the scale of the African presence, saying that Africans outnumbered Spaniards and that early New Spain's black population was larger than Brazil's. He notes, as others have, that Africans participated in the conquest and often served in an intermediary role, supervising indigenous labor and Hispanicizing the Indians. Bennett focuses not on work or living conditions, but on Africans' ability to manipulate power through their understanding of the law. Blacks, being Christians and thus considered persons with souls, enjoyed certain rights. For example, the church granted them the right of conjugality, which superceded their masters' property rights. Africans, Bennett argues, took advantage of these limited rights to make lives for themselves. By manipulating the interstices between canon and property law, Africans carved out niches for themselves and made their lives better. This thorough study informs on a number of historical fields, including the history of slavery, diaspora studies, identity, Spanish imperial history, church history, creolization, and the Hispanicization of Indians. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty." —S. A. Harmon, Pittsburg State University, Choice, February 2004

— S. A. Harmon, Pittsburg State University

www.net
"..Bennett’s book represents a significant contribution to the scholarship on the African experience in colonial Mexico and to our understanding of the interface between the public domain of church and state and the private one of personal lives." —net
Choice - S. A. Harmon

"Bennett (Rutgers Univ.) relies on church records, especially marriage licenses and Inquisition prosecutions, to reveal aspects of the social and legal lives of Africans and their descendants, slave and free, in colonial Mexico. He begins by establishing the scale of the African presence, saying that Africans outnumbered Spaniards and that early New Spain's black population was larger than Brazil's. He notes, as others have, that Africans participated in the conquest and often served in an intermediary role, supervising indigenous labor and Hispanicizing the Indians. Bennett focuses not on work or living conditions, but on Africans' ability to manipulate power through their understanding of the law. Blacks, being Christians and thus considered persons with souls, enjoyed certain rights. For example, the church granted them the right of conjugality, which superceded their masters' property rights. Africans, Bennett argues, took advantage of these limited rights to make lives for themselves. By manipulating the interstices between canon and property law, Africans carved out niches for themselves and made their lives better. This thorough study informs on a number of historical fields, including the history of slavery, diaspora studies, identity, Spanish imperial history, church history, creolization, and the Hispanicization of Indians. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty." —S. A. Harmon, Pittsburg State University, Choice, February 2004

net

"..Bennett’s book represents a significant contribution to the scholarship on the African experience in colonial Mexico and to our understanding of the interface between the public domain of church and state and the private one of personal lives." —net

From the Publisher
"..Bennett’s book represents a significant contribution to the scholarship on the African experience in colonial Mexico and to our understanding of the interface between the public domain of church and state and the private one of personal lives." —net
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253109859
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/2003
  • Series: Blacks in the Diaspora
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 598 KB

Meet the Author

Herman L. Bennett is Associate Professor of History at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : Africans, absolutism, and archives 1
1 Soiled gods and the formation of a slave society 14
2 "The grand remedy" : Africans and Christian conjugality 33
3 Policing Christians : persons of African descent before the Inquisition and ecclesiastical courts 51
4 Christian matrimony and the boundaries of African self-fashioning 79
5 Between property and person : jurisdictional conflicts over marriage 126
6 Creoles and Christian narratives 154
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