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History > Latin American and Caribbean History

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Blue Coat or Powdered Wig

Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue

Stewart R. King

By the late 1700s, half the free population of Saint Domingue was black. The French Caribbean colony offered a high degree of social, economic, and physical mobility to free people of color. Covering the period 1776-1791, this study offers the most comprehensive portrait to date of Saint Domingue's free black elites on the eve of the colony's transformation into the republic of Haiti.

Stewart R. King identifies two distinctive groups that shared Saint Domingue's free black upper stratum, one consisting of planters and merchants and the other of members of the army and police forces. With the aid of individual and family case studies, King documents how the two groups used different strategies to pursue the common goal of economic and social advancement. Among other aspects, King looks at the rural or urban bases of these groups' networks, their relationships with whites and free blacks of lesser means, and their attitudes toward the acquisition, use, and sale of land, slaves, and other property.

King's main source is the notarial archives of Saint Domingue, whose holdings offer an especially rich glimpse of free black elite life. Because elites were keenly aware of how a bureaucratic paper trail could help cement their status, the archives divulge a wealth of details on personal and public matters.

Blue Coat or Powdered Wig is a vivid portrayal of race relations far from the European centers of colonial power, where the interactions of free blacks and whites were governed as much by practicalities and shared concerns as by the law.

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Blurred Borders

Transnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States

Jorge Duany

In this comprehensive comparative study, Jorge Duany explores how migrants to the United States from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico maintain multiple ties to their countries of origin.

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Book of Salsa

A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City

César Miguel Rondón

Salsa is one of the most popular types of music listened to and danced to in the United States. Until now, the single comprehensive history of the music--and the industry that grew up around it, including musicians, performances, styles, movements, and production--was available only in Spanish. This lively translation provides for English-reading and music-loving fans the chance to enjoy César Miguel Rond?n's celebrated ###El libro de la salsa#.

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Border Medicine

A Transcultural History of Mexican American Curanderismo

Brett Hendrickson

Mexican American folk and religious healing, often referred to as curanderismo, has been a vital part of life in the Mexico-U.S. border region for centuries. A hybrid tradition made up primarily of indigenous and Iberian Catholic pharmacopeias, rituals, and notions of the self, curanderismo treats the sick person with a variety of healing modalities including herbal remedies, intercessory prayer, body massage, and energy manipulation. Curanderos, “healers,” embrace a holistic understanding of the patient, including body, soul, and community.
Border Medicine examines the ongoing evolution of Mexican American religious healing from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Illuminating the ways in which curanderismo has had an impact not only on the health and culture of the borderlands but also far beyond, the book tracks its expansion from Mexican American communities to Anglo and multiethnic contexts.While many healers treat Mexican and Mexican American clientele, a significant number of curanderos have worked with patients from other ethnic groups as well, especially those involved in North American metaphysical religions like spiritualism, mesmerism, New Thought, New Age, and energy-based alternative medicines. Hendrickson explores this point of contact as an experience of transcultural exchange.
Drawing on historical archives, colonial-era medical texts and accounts, early ethnographies of the region, newspaper articles, memoirs, and contemporary healing guidebooks as well as interviews with contemporary healers, Border Medicine demonstrates the notable and ongoing influence of Mexican Americans on cultural and religious practices in the United States, especially in the American West.

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Borges, Second Edition

The Passion of an Endless Quotation

Lisa Block de Behar

Expanded edition with new chapters and updates to the translation and bibliography.

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Bound Lives

Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah O’Toole examines how Andeans and Africans negotiated and employed casta, and in doing so, constructed these racial categories. This study highlights the tenuous interactions of colonial authorities, indigenous communities, and enslaved populations and shows how the interplay between colonial law and daily practice shaped the nature of colonialism and slavery.

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Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico

Deborah Cohen

Drawing on oral histories, ethnographic fieldwork, and documentary evidence, ###Braceros# applies a cultural approach to analyze the political economy of labor migration, the rise of large-scale corporate agriculture, and state-to-state relations, showing how the World War II and postwar periods laid the groundwork for current debates over immigration and globalization. Cohen creatively links the often unconnected themes of exploitation, development, the rise of consumer cultures, and gendered class and race formation to show why those with connections beyond the nation have historically provoked suspicion, anxiety, and retaliatory political policies.

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A Century of Change

Edited by Ignacy Sachs, Jorge Wilheim, and Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

This English translation of an acclaimed Brazilian anthology provides critical overviews of Brazilian life, history, and culture and insight into Brazil’s development over the past century. The distinguished essayists, most of whom are Brazilian, provide expert perspectives on the social, economic, and cultural challenges that face Brazil as it seeks future directions in the age of globalization.

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Brazil and the Dialectic of Colonization

Alfredo Bosi

A classic of Brazilian literary criticism and historiography, Brazil and the Dialectic of Colonization explores the unique character of Brazil from its colonial beginnings to its emergence as a modern nation. This translation presents the thought of Alfredo Bosi, one of contemporary Brazil's leading intellectuals, to an English-speaking audience. Portugal extracted wealth from its Brazilian colony. Slaves--first indigenous peoples, later Africans--mined its ore and cut its sugarcane. From the customs of the colonists and the aspirations of the enslaved rose Brazil. Bosi scrutinizes signal points in the creation of Brazilian culture--the plays and poetry, the sermons of missionaries and Jesuit priests, the Indian novels of José de Alencar and the Voices of Africa of poet Castro Alves. His portrait of the country's response to the pressures of colonial conformity offers a groundbreaking appraisal of Brazilian culture as it emerged from the tensions between imposed colonial control and the African and Amerindian cults--including the Catholic-influenced ones--that resisted it.

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Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century

Andre Joao Antonil

First published in 1711, Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century describes the four major economic activities of the Brazilian colony. Half the book is devoted to the sugar industry and the social world of those who grew the sugarcane. Other sections give a detailed view of the tobacco industry. Further, this work describes where and how gold was extracted, the new and old routes connecting Minas Gerais with the coast, and the rough-and-tumble world of the miners. Antonil concludes with discussion of the economic importance of cattle, and information on Brazilian exports and taxes. No other work provides this level of eyewitness detail.

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