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Richard Lee Turits
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Slavery, Freedom, and the Making of Race in Santo Domingo and the Atlantic World

Spanish Santo Domingo was the first plantation society in the Americas and the first land where large-scale slavery became isolated to people of sub-Saharan African descent. It was also the first site where modern plantations collapsed, after which the colony became a peasant nation predominantly of African descent and free people of color enjoyed material conditions of relative autonomy at odds with the racist hierarchy of metropolitan laws and discourses. This book explores largely unknown histories of race, slavery, and freedom in Santo Domingo in order to illuminate both the racialization of slavery and a type of deracialization of freedom. It argues that racist laws and discourses were challenged in areas where free persons of African descent composed a major part of society and lived with a substantial degree of independence before the abolition of slavery. It also analyzes the weakness of collective black identities in the Dominican Republic stemming from this history.

Project fields:
Latin American History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2009 – 8/31/2010