The Center for Africana Studies in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences pursues broad inquiry into the ideas and experiences of African peoples throughout the world. Its interdisciplinary approach is organized around three major sub-fields:
Studies of the African Diaspora
The Center's work spans diverse academic disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and public health. While its sub-fields possess distinct and distinctive intellectual traditions, they offer exciting possibilities for comparative as well as integrative inquiry.
Browsing Africana Studies, Center for by Author "Vinson, Ben III"
Questioning the Question of Non-White Military Service in Colonial Mexico
At the close of the seventeenth century, even with Spain feeling the heat of war and
with streams of pirate raids still punishing the coastlines of the crown’s New World
holdings, Spanish bureaucrats cringed when considering the prospect of using black
troops to defend their possessions. Francisco de Seijas y Lobera, the former alcalde
mayor (district governor) of Tacuba, a distinguished member of the Spanish gentry, a
scientist, merchant, and a traveler, seemed to capture the spirit of the times in his
fourteen-volume history of the Spanish kingdom. Written between 1702–1704 as a
counseling guide for the new monarch, Philip V, Seijas dedicated an entire tome
exclusively to Mexican affairs. Within, he described in detail the existing military
landscape, the scope of enemy threats, the parameters of existing defenses, and most
importantly, he offered a series of recommendations for improving the mechanisms
for protecting the crown’s borders. During times of emergency, Seijas suggested that
Mexico could probably count upon the military services of 200,000 coastal and
frontier defenders. His estimates tallied that a full 175,000 of these would be drawn
from the negro, mulatto, pardo, Indian, and mestizo racial classes.
But in his enthusiasm for advocating the expansion of the military to include nonwhites,
Seijas also revealed certain prejudices that seemed characteristic of his times.
Sure, negros and mulattos (i.e. free-coloreds) could be called upon to serve; however,
the terms of their service had to be constricted:
With respect to the formation of the two companies, considering
(as one should) that the said negros and mulatos cannot be allowed
to use swords and daggers, sharp weapons, or firearms of
any type . . . it is not convenient or safe for the service of the king
that the tremendous number of negro and mulatto rabble that
exist (sic) in the Indies use such weapons. This is because they
could use these arms to revolt. Moreover, there is no just or
political reason why these people, who are of the same species as
slaves (being their offspring), should enjoy the same privileges
(preeminencias) as Spaniards. For these reasons, and because
[negros and mulattos] have already been involved in many uprisings
and tumults in the Indies, it is best for the crown that free
negros and mulattos not be permitted to use offensive or defensive
(2008-09-11T13:28:38Z) Vinson, Ben III; Vaughn, Bobby; Tovares, Carlos; Sartorius, David; Jackson, John Jr.
The term “New South” has been used for over a hundred years to describe and categorize the Southern U.S. The desire to continually reinvent the South suggests that the current transformations of the region’s economy, demographics, and politics are not radical reconfigurations of a monolithic and unchanging landscape, but rather are the latest articulations of a complex and continually evolving region. Change in the South, however, is not a neutral, uncontested process. The South’s meaning is now being challenged in ways that have not been witnessed before. Multiethnic diversity has been identified as one of the key emerging features of the region, particularly in job-laden metropolitan areas. In North Carolina and other Southern States, migration streams are channeling Latinos into areas with relatively large Black populations, and in geographically defined social/political spaces that have been historically discussed in binary terms of Black and White. This essay is a preliminary exploration of these processes of contested change in North Carolina, examining the stakes involved, the processes that have unfurled, and the histories/legacies produced by these interactions that are rapidly becoming prominent features in the American social landscape.