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Mapping the geographies of the descendants of fugitives from slavery – or maroons – in an anti-colonial manner destabilises oppressive spatial constructions of space. These constructions only envision Latin America as white and white-mestizo territories. Drawing on epistemologies from the south, this paper describes a participatory historical-geographical method that gives maroon-descendant geographies a presence in cartographies. For this, by feeling and thinking collectively, the community of San Basilio de Palenque in the Colombian Caribbean analysed colonial records regarding its territorial history with the collaboration of the researcher. Counter-using the colonial archive to re-map and reclaim black territory is subversive and engrained in the legacy of maroon resistance.

Ana Laura Zavala Guillen is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her research takes an activist and participatory approach to the historical and geographical analysis of space-making by enslaved people and their descendants. It considers their social movements (including socio-territorial ones) as a practice of resistance in the geographies of the Americas and the Caribbean. Some of this work is published as A.L. Zavala Guillen (2021) ‘Afro-Latin American geographies of in-betweenness: colonial marronage in Colombia,’ Journal of Historical Geography, 72, pp. 13-22.

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