"Sex, Crime, and Colonial Subjection in Colonial Barbacoas" explores the many tensions that arose in the adjudication of slave marriages in the eighteenth-century Pacific Kingdom of New Granada. Examining annulment records found in the Archbishopric of Popayán, this paper explores the struggles that slaves, slaveholders, mining administrators, and slave mining captains had over the legitimacy of church-sanctioned slave marriages. These cases invite both a deeper inspection of slave vs. slave holder struggles over access and enjoyment of Christian conjugality while raising questions about sexual knowledge, sexual vulnerability, rape, and forced marriage within the gold mining and rainforest enclaves that dotted the Gran Chocó.
Sponsored by the Society of Fellows and History Department.
Dr. Sherwin K. Bryant is Associate Professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University, where he serves as Director of the Center for African American History and Co-Directotry of the Andean Cultures and Histories Working group at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies. A historian of colonial Latin America, Bryant specializes in the histories of race, slavery, and the early modern African diaspora. He is the author of: Rivers of Gold, Lives of Bondage: Governing through Slavery in Colonial Quito, and co-editor of Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora. Currently, Bryant is writing a book that examines the conditions of Black life through the themes of sex, crime, and law in eighteenth-century Pacific lowlands of Barbacoas and Guayaquil. Examining annulment records, criminal court cases, and civil court cases, this project explores the ways that enslaved Africans and their descendants claimed and shaped these dense, rainforest landscapes through the erection of runaway slave settlements and free black towns, and their day to day legal and extra-legal acts and engagements within colonial society.