Yesenia Barragan: High School Teachers Institute
Friday, September 25, 2020, 10:00am - 01:00pm
The Making of Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean
September 25, 2020
Yesenia Barragan, Associate Professor, Department of History, Rutgers University
Over 90% of an estimated 12.5 million African descended people who were kidnapped and forced to cross the Atlantic Ocean as slaves were brought to Latin America and the Caribbean— a fact little known to Americans. This seminar explores the making of slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean over the course of three centuries. We will first examine Africa and the rise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the sixteenth century, with a focus on economics and the social experiences of African captives. We will then analyze the economic, social, and geographic dynamics of three main kinds of slavery that developed in the region: sugar, gold mining, and urban slavery—from Brazil and Colombia, to Cuba and Mexico. Finally, we will explore the making of spiritual and ethnic cultures that developed among enslaved Africans and their descendants, including the Brazilian martial art of capoeira and the Afro-Cuban religious tradition of Santeria. Overall, the seminar will serve as an introduction to the everyday lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants as they lived, labored, and resisted across Latin America and the Caribbean.