In “Between Latin America and the African Diaspora?” Greg Childs discusses researching Latin America’s black history and the conflicts that can arise:
Perhaps because I was indeed sitting right beside him the man did not see me. Or maybe he saw me but genuinely had no clue what kind of work I did or what to make of it or how to understand the way he had heard my work described. After all, I had in fact been introduced to the committee at the previous meeting as the new guy and as a specialist in African Diaspora and Brazilian history. Whatever the reason was that he did not see me, so to speak, it was merely a re-incarnation of a scene that had become quite familiar, that had happened many times before in prior years and that was essentially informed by a singular confusion: was I a scholar of black studies or a scholar of Latin America? Or perhaps even more generally, was I a historian of a subset of people who could be located anywhere or a historian of a “legitimate” region (and indeed a few days later the same individual approached me and apologized by saying “I’m sorry. I just thought you studied black people out there, you know, in lots of places”)?
For all the academic and mainstream recognition of black folk in Latin America over the past few years, such encounters are disheartening reminders that inclusion does not signal transformation. But lamenting how blackness is included but not viewed as central or characteristic of Latin American history is less interesting than asking why this continues to occur, and for me the answer seems to cohere around two issues: the power that “institutional history” has had in shaping questions about subjugated peoples in Latin America, and relatedly the enduring influence that theories concerned with structures and institutions of history have had in Latin American scholarship….
Read the rest Between Latin America and the African Diaspora? at AAIHS
3 thoughts on “Childs on Doing African Diaspora History as a Latin Americanist”
Reblogged this on [Modern Times].
I nearly find myself speechless to see that others are rightfully engaged in the battle of connecting the entire African diaspora to itself in a cohesive and meaningful manner.
I am currently reading Servants of Allah by Sylviane Diouf in regards to how the African fought against slavery in ALL of the “American” countries – not just the so called United States.
I wish that I could stand stronger and speak louder than I already do, in this struggle, But I am, nevertheless, overjoyed that I found this site! And just recently, I have found occasion to blog about this topic, though in less academic arenas.
A Luta Continua!
Thank you for your words. There is so much more work to be done but I’m glad you found this site useful. En lucha!