Celia Cussen - “The Social and Economic Dynamics of African Slavery in Late Colonial Santiago, Chile”

Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm

Why doesn’t African slavery hold the place it deserves in the historical narrative of Chile? In this talk, historian Celia Cussen suggests that clues to the answer might be found in the nature of the labor carried out by slaves in Santiago, where their work shifted over the course of the colonial period from participation in the mechanical arts, petty commerce and household service, to tasks centered on the care of the family members and urban properties of the patrician class. Despite the increasing availability of alternative forms of labor in the city, late colonial elites purchased and valued black slaves for their perceived trustworthiness and for the prestige they conferred on their owners. With slaves concentrated in the households of the great families in the years leading up to abolition, historians of the nation could successfully paper over their earlier, broad economic and social roles.


Introduction by: John Thornton

Professor of African American Studies and History, Director of Graduate Studies, African American Studies Program, Boston University

Free and open to the public.  Please feel free to bring a lunch.

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