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About the talk:
Despite recent efforts from scholars, activists, and associations to rethink Afro-Mexican identities and recover their histories, it is still common to hear among non-specialists statements such as “there are no blacks in Mexico,” or even “there were no blacks in Mexico.” Under this light it is worth asking: how did we get to this situation? How did people who during the colonial period used Spanish-language social classifications such as negro, mulato, morisco, or lobo stopped using such designations? How and why did people substitute these adscriptions for a homogenous label of “citizens” at the end of the colonial period? And what was the relationship between this process and the elision of Afro-Mexicans from the historical imaginary of the nation over time? Using the case of Afro-Mexicans from Guadalajara between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, this study tries to answer these questions. It demonstrates that Afro-Mexicans strategically appropriated Spanish terminology about human difference, used it in creative ways to carve a social space for themselves, and ultimately dismissed it before independence in the midst of emerging political opportunities.

About the speaker:
Jorge E. Delgadillo Núñez is Chancellor’s Advance Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at UC-Irvine. His research has been published in English and Spanish by The Americas, Historia Mexicana, and the University of Guadalajara. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Vanderbilt University (2021).

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