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Colonial Afro-Mexicans performed “with their king and queen” in both public festivals and communal celebrations. These expressions of black joy countered the systemic violence that characterized Afro-Mexicans’ daily lives, and that often threatened this very performance. My analysis of this performative genre contends that by staging these performances against all the odds, Afro-Mexicans expressed communal sovereignty and affirmed black Being. This approach allows us to reconsider the Afro-Mexican experienc beyond colonial violence and affirm that while racism shaped Afro-Mexicans’ lives, it did not define their being in the world. 

Dr. Karoline Cook
(Royal Holloway) will comment. 

Miguel A. Valerio is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis. His research has appeared in several venues, including Slavery and Abolition and Colonial Latin American Review. His first book, Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. 

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