Fear and Loathing in New Spain: Antiblackness in Colonial Mexico

Miguel Valerio, assistant professor, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Washington University

Region and Enmity: A RaceB4Race Symposium, October 19–22, 2021

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Enmity is a sustaining force for systemic racism, a fervent antipathy toward a category of people. Enmity exists at the nexus of individual and group identity and produces difference by desiring opposition and supremacy, imagining separation by force, and willing conflict. Enmity unfolds in different ways in different places, according to local logics of territory, population, language, or culture, even as these geographical divisions are subject to constant change.

This interdisciplinary symposium, hosted by Rutgers University, focuses on how premodern racial discourses are tied to cartographical markers and ambitions. The notions of enmity and region provide a dual dynamic lens for tracing the racial repertoires that developed in response to increasingly hostile contention between premodern cultural and political forces. The symposium will invite scholars to take up this intersection between region and enmity, and to examine how belief in difference, or the emergence of polarizing structures and violent practices, configured race thinking and racial practices in ways that are both unique to different territories and that transcend them.

Miguel A. Valerio is an assistant professor of Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis. His work has appeared in several journals, including Slavery and Abolition and Colonial Latin American Review. He is currently completing a book on Afro-Mexican festive practices, “Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Festive Practices, 1539–1640,” under contract with Cambridge University Press. Besides exploring black joy and communal sovereignty, the book studies how Iberian racial ideology impacted Afro-Mexicans’ daily and festive lives. 

Co-sponsored by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Arizona State University.