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The Conceptualization of Race in Colonial Puerto Rico, 1800–1850


Kathryn R. Dungy

With the growing interest in the history of peoples of African descent in the Americas, narratives addressing regions outside of the United States are becoming increasingly popular. The Conceptualization of Race in Colonial Puerto Rico, 1800–1850 illuminates the role people of African descent played in the building of a Spanish Caribbean society during the social upheaval of the early nineteenth century. This examination of cultural tensions created by changing regional and national definitions and the fluidity of identity within these structures will appeal to those interested in colonial race issues, Africans in the Americas, and gender and race stratification. Kathryn R. Dungy uses gender, color, and class differences as lenses to understand a colonial society that was regulated by social relationships within Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and the Americas. By examining slave and free status, color, gender, work, and immigration, she endeavors to stimulate current debate on issues of gender, color, nation, and empire, utilizing a unique population and culture in the Black Atlantic.
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Further Reading


The notes in this book give ample evidence of the richness of the field. In these selections, I will offer the interested reader additional resources for further study on a variety of topics both tangentially and more fully raised in the book. Readings include selections for foundational reading in Atlantic World, Caribbean, and Latin American history; background on the transatlantic slave trade; information on slavery in different regions of the Atlantic World; discussion on racial identity and status in Atlantic World and Latin American societies; and scholarship on free people of color throughout the Atlantic World. This listing attempts to highlight some of the important and interesting discussions in these myriad fields. It is by no means an exhaustive list of the literature.

For more background on Latin American history there are several excellent surveys, including Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America, 7th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); James Lockhart and Stuart B. Schwartz, Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983); and John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood ← 107 | 108 → and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006).

Surveys of the history of the Caribbean region can be found in William Claypole and John Robottom, Caribbean History. Book One: Foundations (London: Longman Group Limited, 1989); William Claypole and John Robottom, Caribbean History. Book Two: The Independence, 4th ed. (London: Longman...

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