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Finding Afro-Mexico
Race and Nation after the Revolution


Award Winner

Part of Afro-Latin America

  • Date Published: May 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108730310

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • In 2015, the Mexican state counted how many of its citizens identified as Afro-Mexican for the first time since independence. Finding Afro-Mexico reveals the transnational interdisciplinary histories that led to this celebrated reformulation of Mexican national identity. It traces the Mexican, African American, and Cuban writers, poets, anthropologists, artists, composers, historians, and archaeologists who integrated Mexican history, culture, and society into the African Diaspora after the Revolution of 1910. Theodore W. Cohen persuasively shows how these intellectuals rejected the nineteenth-century racial paradigms that heralded black disappearance when they made blackness visible first in Mexican culture and then in post-revolutionary society. Drawing from more than twenty different archives across the Americas, this cultural and intellectual history of black visibility, invisibility, and community-formation questions the racial, cultural, and political dimensions of Mexican history and Afro-diasporic thought.

    • Bridges the rich historical literature on slavery and race in the colonial period with scholarship on the contemporary politics of Blackness
    • Traces the long history of African-American intellectual engagements with Mexico
    • Contributes to the expanding literature on the politics of racial comparison and connection along sub-national, national, and transnational lines
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    • Co-winner, 2021 Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History, Latin American Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A powerful, provocative, and penetrating book, Finding Afro-Mexico embarks upon a scholarly quest to find how blackness became Mexican over the course of the twentieth century. Cohen beseeches scholars to look for different evidence, better inspect biases, and be sensitive to the multifaceted and connected power of ideologies. This book will be an eye-opener for many, and the topic of much discussion for years to come.' Ben Vinson III, Provost, Case Western Reserve University and author of Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico

    'Ted Cohen shows how Mexico's Afro-descendant citizens survived the myth of their own disappearance. They became culturally, regionally, and socially visible during the post-revolutionary period as intellectuals and artists engaged in a transnational inquiry into the African diaspora and constructed their identities as Mexican. Supported by tenacious archival research, this book will overturn many time-worn assumptions about blackness in modern Mexico.' Stephen E. Lewis, California State University, Chico

    'Ted Cohen's long-awaited volume forces us to reconsider deeply rooted understandings of post-revolutionary Mexico and the role of race in state and nation formation more broadly. Moving seamlessly between the United States and Mexico and occasionally ranging beyond, Finding Afro-Mexico validates the promise of transnational approaches to Mexican cultural and intellectual history. An impressive achievement.' Gil Joseph, Yale University and co-author of Mexico's Once and Future Revolution: Social Upheaval and Rule since the Late Nineteenth Century

    'In his search for Afro-Mexico, Cohen finds it hidden in plain sight - embedded in Mexican popular culture; Mexican communities, notably in the province of Veracruz where slaves first landed; and Mexico's relationship with the US, Cuba, and the Caribbean, where the African diaspora took shape in transnational articulations. Interactions between Mexican intellectuals, activists, cultural workers, and their counterparts in the African diaspora have restored Mexico's place in this diaspora … originally conceived and well-written … Highly recommended.' E. Hu-DeHart, Choice

    'Cohen's is not a microhistory, not an effort to detail the actual lived experiences of these communities, but an effort to detail the intellectual project of documenting Blackness in Mexico, and in that it succeeds.' Alexander Dawson, H-Net Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108730310
    • length: 349 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of Figures and Maps
    List of Abbreviations
    Part I. Making Blackness Mexican, 1810-1940s
    1. Black Disappearance
    2. Marxism and Colonial Blackness
    3. Making Blackness Transational
    Part II. Finding Afro-Mexico, 1940s-2015
    4. Looking Back to Africa
    5. Africanizing “La bamba”
    6. Caribbean Blackness
    7. The Black Body in Mexico

  • Author

    Theodore W. Cohen, Lindenwood University, Missouri
    Theodore W. Cohen is Associate Professor in the History and Geography Department at Lindenwood University, Missouri.


    • Co-winner, 2021 Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History, Latin American Studies Association
    • Honorable Mention, 2021 Best Book Award in the Social Sciences, Mexico Section, Latin American Studies Association

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