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Grant number: FT-60772-13

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Justin Wolfe
Tulane University (New Orleans, LA 70118-5698)

On Equal Grounds: Race and Empire in the Age of Manifest Destiny, 1848-1858

My project explores questions of slavery, empire and social equality in the age of U.S. Manifest Destiny through a microhistorical study of Greytown, Nicaragua, the Caribbean terminus of Nicaragua’s interoceanic transit route. Greytown boomed with the 1849 California gold rush, becoming a center of black political and entrepreneurial opportunity until the U.S. navy bombarded it in 1854. My exploration of imperial power struggles and global commercial networks challenges the mostly top-down and U.S.-centered focus on filibustering and diplomatic wrangling that has disregarded the pivotal role of Greytown’s majority black population. In contrast, I place diasporic politics and debates about race and empire at the center of this period’s social and political developments. At the same time, this project underscores the intersections between the African diaspora, the Atlantic World, and U.S.-Latin American relations--fields that too often are viewed as conceptually at odds with one another.

Project fields:
Latin American Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013