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Beyond Babel

Beyond Babel
Translations of Blackness in Colonial Peru and New Granada


Part of Afro-Latin America

  • Publication planned for: June 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from June 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108493000

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • In seventeenth-century Spanish America, black linguistic interpreters and spiritual intermediaries played key roles in the production of writings about black men and women. Focusing on the African diaspora in Peru and the southern continental Caribbean, Larissa Brewer-García uncovers long-ignored or lost archival materials describing the experiences of black Christians in the transatlantic slave trade and the colonial societies where they arrived. Brewer-García's analysis of these materials shows that black intermediaries bridged divisions among the populations implicated in the slave trade, exerting influence over colonial Spanish American writings and emerging racial hierarchies in the Atlantic world. The translated portrayals of blackness composed by these intermediaries stood in stark contrast to the pejorative stereotypes common in literary and legal texts of the period. Brewer-García reconstructs the context of those translations and traces the contours and consequences of their notions of blackness, which were characterized by physical beauty and spiritual virtue.

    • Offers a strong counter-narrative to the emergence of racism and racial hierarchy in the period by outlining the emergence of a discourse of blackness as an attribute of beauty, virtue, and holiness
    • Focuses on two major cities in seventeenth-century Spanish America: Cartagena de Indias and Lima
    • Brings several notable documents to light for the first time, including first-person accounts by Afro-latino subjects and text such as the 1629 Oraciones traducidas en la lengua del Reino de Angola
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: June 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108493000
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from June 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Linguistic and Spiritual Mediations in the Earlier
    Black Atlantic
    1. Black Types between Renaissance Humanism and Iberian Counter Reformation Theology
    2. The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Spanish American Missionary Translation Policy
    3. The Mediations of Black Interpreters in Colonial Cartagena de Indias
    4. Conversion and the Making of Blackness in Colonial Cartagena de Indias
    5. Salvation and the Making Blackness in Colonial Lima: Úrsula de Jesús.

  • Author

    Larissa Brewer-García, University of Chicago
    Larissa Brewer-García is an Assistant Professor of Latin American Literature at the University of Chicago.

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