Conference on Latin American History 20
Celso Castilho, Vanderbilt University
These wide-ranging presentations should appeal to scholars of the African diaspora, comparative slavery, as well as, Latin American, European, and US history. The studies span from advanced dissertation projects to second and third books, showcasing scholars who are actively engaging the debates on abolition through transnational and comparative lenses, including in Spanish and Portuguese and outside the US academy. Emily Berquist Soule explores the long antislavery tradition in Spanish and Spanish American thought, highlighting the importance of Catholicism in fostering ideas and spaces to challenge slavery. Alex Borucki’s paper links processes of judicial abolitionism to broader public reckonings with slavery in early-nineteenth-century Uruguay. María Esther Hammack considers the making of Mexican abolitionism as related to US slavery, showing how US demands for the return of runaway enslaved people not only heightened diplomatic tensions between both countries, but also solidified Mexico’s commitment to antislavery politics. And, last, Celso Thomas Castilho turns to the intersection between literature and politics, and analyzes the serialization of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a Peruvian newspaper for what it reveals about abolition and transformations in the cultural arena. Broadly, these papers engage the religious, social, legal, diplomatic, and literary contexts of abolition, illuminating a range of methods and questions that are reshaping our perspective of the topic.