CLAH Presidential Session: Hemispheric Approaches to Diasporic Networks and Migrations in the Age of Empire

AHA Session 148
Conference on Latin American History 37
Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Superior Room A (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Joseph C. Miller, University of Virginia
Ben Vinson III, Johns Hopkins University

Session Abstract

In accord with the overall theme for the 2012 AHA annual meeting of “communities and networks,” this session will emphasize inter-colonial and trans-continental movements of laborers and other migrants during the period of Portuguese and Spanish imperial expansion. While diaspora implies displacement and dispersal, as in the multivalent meanings of the African diaspora, to speak of “diasporic networks” foregrounds the communities that formed in the Americas through the movements, both forced and free, of diverse peoples whose identities merged and changed in the histories of their migrations. This session targets scholarship on indigenous and Hispanic travel across the Atlantic, Asian enslavement and trans-Pacific trade with the Ibero-American colonies through the Philippines, and the migration of Moriscos, persons of Muslim descent, from Spain to Spanish America. Thus, the histories of human enslavement on three continents, multi-directional migrations, and the transformation of social and cultural identities all point to a methodological turn toward “hemispheric approaches,” inspired, in part, by the essays in Atlantic History. A Critical Appraisal, eds. Jack P.Greene and Philip D.Morgan (2009), which challenge scholars to move beyond the Atlantic World paradigm to consider broader transcontinental (and trans-oceanic) approaches to the study of empire. The three presenters on this panel address broad thematic and geographic avenues of research on diasporic networks and early modern migrations; in its entirety, the session represents a diversity of scholars at different career stages and with distinct research trajectories that resonate with the goals of the AHA and the profile of its membership at large.

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