University of Rochester

EVENT: Talk by Herman L. Bennett, expert in the history of Afro-Mexico, sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

November 6, 2002

To think of Mexico invokes images of tequila, Mariachi music, pyramids, and Native Americans-all the product of its mixed race roots. But seldom are Mexico and its people associated with blacks and African culture, though these were a powerful force in shaping the country's identity. Since the transatlantic slave trade of the 16th century to the present, race relations in Mexico have been a dynamic force in shaping the mixed race society it is today.

Herman L. Bennett, assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, will discuss the African presence in Mexico at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The lecture, based on Bennett's essay titled "Sex, Lies, and Incest: The Afro-Mexican Experience," will examine the role which African slaves and freedmen played in Mexican society during the colonial period, using narratives and real-life accounts which reflect the hierarchical structure of Mexican society and shed light on the race relations of the period. Bennett will trace the interaction between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in colonial Mexico and will discuss the effects on the identity of present-day Mexico.

Bennett has written extensively on this subject. His works include the book Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640, and the essays "Slavery and its Legacies," "Lovers, Family, and Friends: The Formation of Afro-Mexico 1580 to 1810," and "Blacks in Colonial Veracruz: Race, Ethnicity, and Regional Development."

Bennett received his doctoral degree in Latin American history from Duke University, where he was awarded the Duke Endowment Fellowship. He is also the recipient of numerous other honors and awards including the Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, the Brandes Course Development Award, the USIA Travel and Research Grant, and the Shell International Studies Dissertation Award. He has lectured extensively on the role of Africans in the Americas during the colonial period at many schools such as Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Yale University.

Bennett's lecture is sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies as part of its Visiting Speakers Series. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Frederick Douglass Institute at (585) 275-7235.




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