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Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America

Kwame Dixon

Publication Year: 2012

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America offers a new, dynamic discussion of the experience of blackness and cultural difference, black political mobilization, and state responses to Afro-Latin activism throughout Latin America. Its thematic organization and holistic approach set it apart as the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of these populations and the issues they face currently available.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword: A New Hemispheric Blackness

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pp. ix-xiv

When President George W. Bush asked Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then president of Brazil, “Do you have blacks too?” (Pedreira 2002),1 he was reflecting more than his own provincialism. He was expressing the ignorance of the vast majority of the U.S. population about Afro-Latin America.

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pp. xv-xvi

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin Americais the work of many diverse individuals, and three common threads wove it together and made it possible: first is Amy Gorelick, editor-in-chief at the University Press of Florida; second is my coeditor and colleague, John Burdick at Syracuse University; and third are the volume contributors. ...

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pp. 1-18

Over the past decade, the acceleration across Latin America of state- and social-movement-led initiatives to remedy five centuries of racial injustice has rendered increasingly urgent the need for an examination of Afro-Latin America that is geographically broad, comparative, and analytically focused. ...

Part 1. Blackness and Cultural Difference

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1. Nurturing Bantu Africanness in Bahia

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pp. 21-41

Food is at the heart of Candomblé, a religion that envisions the world as a “giant mouth” where “everything and everyone eats” (Lody 1995, 65, quoted in Johnson 2002, 36). Food is offered in rituals to the gods and goddesses both in temples and at natural sites that correspond to their essences. ...

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2. Strategies of the Black Pacific: Music and Diasporic Identity in Peru

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pp. 42-71

Decades later, in 2009, a taxi driver in Lima questioned me about the recent election of the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama. “Pardon my frankness,” he said, “but how is it that a country like yours, with such racial problems, succeeded in electing a black president?” ...

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3. Malandreo Negro: Gangsta Rap and the Politics of Exclusion in Venezuela

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pp. 72-92

Malandreo Negro” (Black Malandrismo) is the title of a song by the Venezuelan rap group Guerrilla Seca. The title alludes to rappers’ conceptions of blackness as constructed by class and place, and the resort to crime, or malandrismo, as an unfortunate consequence of the triage of misery, hunger, and poverty. ...

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4. Performing the African Diaspora in Mexico

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pp. 93-113

Much has been written about Mexico’s rich indigenous heritage and its major role in the colonial expansion of the Americas. Until recently, Mexico’s contribution to the study of Afro-Latin populations was largely missing from this discussion. Where is the Afro-Mexican population located? ...

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5. Visions of a Nineteenth-Century Cuba: Images of Blacks in the Work of Víctor Patricio de Landaluze

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pp. 114-132

The nineteenth century was significant for the political and economic development of Cuba’s African and African-descended population. After Haiti’s struggle for independence from Spain ended successfully in 1804, sugar production boomed in the other Spanish colonies nearby, and Cuba had emerged as the largest producer of sugar by the middle of the century. ...

Part 2. Afro Social Movements and Mobilization

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6. Afro-Colombian Social Movements

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pp. 135-155

By some estimates, Colombia has the second largest population of Afro-descendants in Latin America, after Brazil (Sanchez and Bryan 2003). It also arguably has the most comprehensive array of legislation aimed at Afro-descendant people, including special land titles for “black communities” (as defined by the law); ...

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7. Beyond Citizenship as We Know It: Race and Ethnicity in Afro-Colombian Struggles for Citizenship Equality

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pp. 156-175

I could see that she was agitated. She did not want us to be here at her front porch asking her questions about land tenure, black communities, and her aspirations for the future. On hearing I was from Africa, she told me in no uncertain terms that she believed I was there to take her land and the community’s land ...

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8. Black Activism in Ecuador, 1979–2009

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pp. 176-197

Blacks have lived in Ecuador for more than 400 years.1 Yet this demographic reality is not currently reflected in the country’s scholarly studies of history and politics. The Afro-Ecuadorian experience under slavery and in the postslavery period remains largely unexplored in elementary, secondary, and university educational institutions. ...

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9. Afro-Ecuadorian Community Organizing and Political Struggle: Influences on and Participation in Constitutional Processes

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pp. 198-218

Over the last two decades, following the adoption of “multicultural” policies targeting indigenous and African diasporic populations by institutions of international development and global governance such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization (Hale 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006) and as a result of the political activism ...

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10. The Black Movement's Foot Soldiers: Black Women and Neighborhood Struggles for Land Rights in Brazil

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pp. 219-240

On Saturday, May 3, 2003, the front cover of the Bahian newspaper A Tarde showed the picture of 53-year-old Amilton dos Santos sitting on top of a yellow bulldozer. His left hand was on his face, which was hidden by a blue Firestone baseball cap that matched his uniform, and Senhor Amilton was crying. ...

Part 3. State Responses

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11. Social Movements in Latin America: The Power of Regional and National Networks

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pp. 243-263

African descendants have organized to resist racial discrimination since they arrived in the Americas. The process of Afro-Latin Americans mobilizing regionally to promote policy reforms is a relatively new phenomenon that gained momentum in the early 1990s and is a direct product of the rich history of organized black civil society groups ...

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12. Negotiating Blackness within the Multicultural State: Creole Politics and Identity in Nicaragua

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pp. 264-281

How are Afro-descendant Creoles currently reimagining their collective identities in Nicaragua in the context of multicultural policies that guarantee collective rights to land and culture to both the indigenous and Afro-descendant inhabitants of the country’s Atlantic coast? ...

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13. Todos Somos Iguales, Todos Somos Incas: Dilemmas of Afro-Peruvian Citizenship and Inca Whiteness in Peru

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pp. 282-304

On December 7, 2008, a day known as Popular Leaders Day in Peru, Peruvian president Alan García provided radio talk-show hosts with an incredibly juicy newsbyte. In the midst of a long diatribe against pesky NGO emissaries, he revealed his color-coded, classist vision of Peru’s civil society: ...

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14. Sociology and Racial Inequality: Challenges and Approaches in Brazil

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pp. 305-322

History presents a challenge for sociological theory because of the contingencies it contains. Inequality, ethnocentrism, and racism are universal phenomena, but they develop differently within different national, political, and economic contexts. Across such differences we may detect commonalities forged by empire, ...

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15. Black—but Not Haitian: Color, Class, and Ethnicity in the Dominican Republic

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pp. 323-344

On the surface, the Dominican Republic seems like a racial democracy. It is one of the most racially mixed countries in the world. An estimated three-fourths of the population is classified as mulatto (the offspring of whites and blacks), and the color of black and white minorities is more a matter of convenience for classification purposes ...

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List of Contributors

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pp. 345-348

Heidi Carolyn Feldman is an ethnomusicologist and a lecturer at the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University. Her award-winning book, Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2006. ...


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pp. 349-365

E-ISBN-13: 9780813042695
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813037561
Print-ISBN-10: 0813037565

Page Count: 382
Illustrations: 17 photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012