The Making of Blackness in Early Modern Spain: A Process of Cultural and Social Negotiation from the Bottom-Up
Who were the social and cultural agents that constructed narratives of Blackness in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain? How many (different) notions of Blackness co-existed in the period? To what extent did literary Blackness influence scribes taking statements in court?
The Making of Blackness project unfolds with the evidence-based hypotheses that (a) the construction of Blackness was a process of cultural and social negotiation from the bottom up in which black women and men took an active role; and (b) the ideas of Blackness were disseminated in cultural and religious narratives that, in turn, had an impact on the formation of mentalities. Following on from these, the project proposes to investigate the role of Black Africans in shaping narratives of Blackness and to connect a rich scholarship on emancipatory strategies and social practices to the period’s underexplored cultural expressions of Blackness. With cross-disciplinary methods and sources, and an interdisciplinary team of researchers —scholars of Literature, Linguistics, History, Historical Sociology, Ethnomusicology, and Anthropology—, the project aims at providing multifaceted answers to the complex uses of ‘Black’ in the context of early modern Spain and examine these complex labels with the perspectives of Black diasporic communities, as well as reflecting on the semantics of ‘Black’ and ‘Blackness’ in the era’s literary productions vis-à-vis social and historical records.
- The project aims at challenging the traditional readings of Blackness in literary, musical, and evangelical discourses
- It examines the engagement of Black audiences shaping narratives of Blackness performed in the era’s cultural and festive practices.
- It seeks for an understanding of the meaning of Blackness in the era’s social and cultural worldviews.