An Early Modern Culture of Freedom: Afro-Christian Narratives in Absolutist New Spain, 1640-1750


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies during academic year 2006-2007


By the mid-sixteenth century, Africans outnumbered Spaniards in Mexico City--a demographic phenomenon that characterized the viceregal capital and spilled into the rural areas throughout the colonial period. A century later, New Spain was home both to the largest slave and free black populations in the Americas. Rather than ask what happened to Mexico's black population--a standard refrain from Latin American scholars--this project explores the black experience, slave and free, to ask fundamental questions about the meanings and experience of freedom in an era before liberalism.