CFP–Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America & the Caribbean

The Three Races or Equality before the Law, ca. 1859, Francisco Laso, Peru (Wikimedia Commons).

Call for Papers:

Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America and the Caribbean 

Guest Editor: Dr. Erika Dense Edwards, University of Texas at El Paso

Deadline: July 1, 2024

Global Black Thought, the official journal of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is now accepting submissions for a special issue on race and identity in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean. During the colonial period (1500-1825), the notion of identity did not equate to fixed definitions of race. Instead, racial identities in Spanish, French, and Lusophone Latin America and the Caribbean were constantly in flux and fluid. The social, political, and economic milieus of these regions shaped how an individual was perceived by others and in turn served as the basis of their reputation.  The melding of reputation and perception created an unmeasurable and fluid idea known as “calidad.”  For instance, the notion of whiteness equated to privilege, wealth, freedom, and education. Conversely, the notion of Blackness equated to disadvantage, poverty, slavery, and ignorance.

This special issue builds on extant scholarship on race and identity in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean—and explores new directions. We are seeking new and original essays based on historical research that offer nuanced interpretations of identity and how it pertains to defining Blackness in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean. This issue will explore what scholars Andrew B. Fisher and Matthew O’Hara refer to as “contact points” of Blackness in their 2009 study, Imperial Subjects.  “Contact points” they explain, underscore how identity in the colonial period was defined by “the interactions of colonial subjects with institutions… when [calidad] is articulated, publicized, internalized, contested, and sometimes altered.”

Essays should delve into how Blackness developed from the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. Topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Religion and notions of Blackness in the colonial period
  • Race, identity and morality in the colonial period
  • Race, identity and ideas of criminality in the colonial period
  • Self-Identification in the colonial period
  • Commodification and the slave trade
  • Race and the law in the colonial period
  • Black Intellectual History
  • Cultural Production & Material Culture

Guest Editor: Dr. Erika Denise Edwards

Dr. Erika Denise Edwards spent her formative years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She and her twin sister, Lydia Edwards (Boston City Councilor) were raised by her divorced mother, an Air Force veteran.(Debates still range on whether they are identical twins, but clearly they were ‘identical’ enough because she dressed up like Lydia during her campaign for city council so ‘Lydia’ was able to be in two places at once.) Upon her return from Argentina, she joined the McNair program, and continued to study and research Argentina’s black history for two summers.

After she graduated from Grand Valley State University she enrolled in Florida International University’s Atlantic History Doctoral program. In order to support her research she was awarded a Fulbright and Ford Dissertation Fellowship. She graduated in 2011 and began working at UNC-Charlotte’s Africana Studies Department as a Lecturer and the following year obtained a tenure track position in the History Department where she was recently tenured. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Edwards has published the award-winning book Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of White Argentine Republic. This book is a gendered analysis of Black erasure in Argentina. Her research advocates for a re-learning of Argentina’s Black past and the origins of anti-Blackness. Follow her on Twitter/X at @Prof_Edwards.

**For questions about this special issue, please contact Guest Editor, Dr. Erika Dense Edwards ( For general inquiries about the journal, please contact the editing team ( Follow the link below to submit articles to the journal. More details about the journal can be found here. You can also join the journal’s email list here to stay abreast of updates.

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