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Larissa Brewer-García
Romance Languages & Literatures
Beyond Babel: Translations of Blackness in Colonial Peru and New Granada
Cambridge University Press, 2020



In seventeenth-century Spanish America, black linguistic interpreters and spiritual intermediaries played key roles in the production of writings about black men and women. Focusing on the African diaspora in Peru and the southern continental Caribbean, Larissa Brewer-García uncovers long-ignored or lost archival materials describing the experiences of black Christians in the transatlantic slave trade and the colonial societies where they arrived. Reviewer Cécile Fromont notes, “In this scrupulously researched and rigorously argued book, Brewer-García releases from archival obscurity and historiographical neglect the voice of Afro-Latin American men and women, demonstrating their role as vital thinkers and authors of the early modern era. Her close, historically grounded analysis of texts . . . offers a powerful revision of the definition and meaning of blackness in slavery-era South America, and the early modern world at large.” 

Read "The Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Colonial Afro-Latin American Studies," an essay by Larissa Brewer-Garcia!

“Just a generation ago, scholars acknowledged the first sightings of blacks in the Spanish American archives. By making Africans and their descendants legible and audible in ways that just recently were inconceivable, Beyond Babel transforms our historical imagination. Brewer-García's foundational contribution to this dynamic field of study is remarkable.”
Herman L. Bennett,
The Graduate Center,
City University of New York



Larissa Brewer-García specializes in colonial Latin American studies, with a focus on cultural productions of the Caribbean, the Andes, and the African diaspora. Within these areas, her interests include gender studies, literature and law, genealogies of race and racism, humanism and Catholicism, and translation studies. She is also a co-founder, with Agnes Lugo-Ortiz and Cécile Fromont, of the Working Group on Slavery and Visual Culture (now a joint project with the University of Chicago and Yale University).

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