Afro-Latin American Research Institute

The Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University is the first research institution in the United States devoted to the history and culture of peoples of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over 90 percent of the Africans forcibly imported into the Americas went to Latin America and the Caribbean, half of them to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Many Hispanics in the United States are also of African descent. Cultural forms and community practices associated with Africa are conspicuous across the region - indeed, the very existence of Latin America would be unthinkable without them. During the last few decades, Afro-Latin Americans have created numerous civic, cultural, and community organizations to demand recognition, equality and resources, prompting legislative action and the implementation of compensatory policies. The Afro-Latin American Research Institute stimulates and sponsors scholarship on the Afro-Latin American experience and provides a forum where scholars, intellectuals, activists and policy makers engage in exchanges and debates.


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Wlamyra Albuquerque

Wlamyra Albuquerque is Professor of History at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.  She earned a Doctorate in Social History at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), São Paulo, Brazil. She is the co-editor of Afro-Asia Review. She is also the co-author with  Walter Fraga Filho of  O jogo da dissimulação. Abolição e cidadania negra no Brasil ( The Game of Dissimulation: Abolition and Black Citizenship in Brazil).

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Devyn Spence Benson

Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow, Hutchins Center

Dr. Devyn Spence Benson is an Assistant Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University. Benson received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the field of Latin American History, where her research focused on racial discourses during the first three years of the Cuban revolution.

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Odette Casamayor-Cisneros

Fellow, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Visiting Scholar,  Afro-Latin American Research Institute

Odette Casamayor-Cisneros is Associate Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Cultures at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She received her Ph.D. in Art and Literature from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.

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Victor Fowler

Victor Fowler is one of the most important writers of his generation. Born in 1960 to an Afro-Cuban family, he belongs to the first generation of writers born in Revolutionary Cuba. This was the generation that was supposed to provide the nation with what Che Guevara called the “new man.” In reality, this expectation was not fulfilled—few adopted the morals of Revolutionary life out of disinterested altruism. In fact, most of the writers of Fowler’s generation have gone into exile.

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Marial Iglesias Utset

Visiting Research Scholar at the Afro-Latin American Research Institute

Marial Iglesias Utset was Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of Havana for 25 years. She earned her Ph.D. in Historical Sciences at the University of Havana and her M. Phil. and her B.A. at Moscow State University. Her research fields include Culture and Race in Cuba, Atlantic Slavery, and African Diaspora Studies.

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Marixa Lasso

Associate Professor of Latin American History at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia
The Lost Towns of the Canal Zone
Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow
Fall 2016

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Márcia Lima

Professor of Sociology at the University of São Paulo
Brazil's Racial Inequalities and Regional Variations: Recent Changes and Age-old Challenges
Afro-Latin American Research Institute Fellow
Fall 2016

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Ivor Miller

Senior Lecturer at Bassey Andah Institute for African and Asian Studies at the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
Cuban Lukumí Bàtá: Ajúbà to Oba Ilu
Mark Claster Mamolen Fellow
2016-2017 Academic Year

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Elio Rodriguez

Afro-Latin American Research Institute Fellow and Cohen Fellow, Hutchins Center

All my work in a general sense deals with the question of identity, understood as the system of judgments about a person, culture or phenomenon. This question is generally treated from the prism of Caribbean popular culture, using the humor and elements of this culture, and such cliches formed about the culture, that when it comes from them, it builds images that simultaneously incarnate that reality, and question it.

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Lester Tomé

Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies

Lester Tomé is an assistant professor in the Dance Department and the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program at Smith College. He is also a faculty member in the Five College Dance Department. In 2013-14, he was the Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS).

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Silvia Valero

Silvia Valero is a Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literature at the Universidad de Cartagena, Colombia. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina); her MA in Hispanic Literature at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and her Ph.D. in Literature at Université de Montréal, Canada. Her book Mirar atrás. La importancia del pasado en los relatos de nación y negritud  en la literatura afrocubana de entre-siglos (2014)  (Looking back. The relevance of the past in stories of nation and blackness in the between-centuries Afro-Cuban literature) is a study about the racial self-identification and the construction of new and different imagined communities through Cuban writers’ literary production, between 1990 and 2005.

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Afro-Latin America Book Series

Cambridge University Press is delighted to announce a new book series, Afro-Latin America, edited by George Reid Andrews (University of Pittsburgh) and Alejandro de la Fuente (Harvard University). The series reflects the coming of age of the new, multidisciplinary field of Afro-Latin American Studies, which centers on the histories, cultures, and experiences of people of African descent in Latin America, as well as the rise of a powerful transnational movement of activists, organizations, and institutions devoted to issues of racial equity and racial justice in Latin America.

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Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art

Queloides is an art exhibit on the persistence of racism and racial discrimination in contemporary Cuba and elsewhere in the world. Despite the social transformations implemented by the Cuban revolutionary government since the early 1960s, racism continues to be a deep wound in Cuban society, one that generates countless social and cultural scars.

Workshop with Manuel Covo

Monday, March 9, 2015 - 5:00pm
"Neutrality, Commercial Circulations and Legal Identities in the Revolutionary Caribbean: Between Saint-Domingue and the United States"
Robinson Hall, Basement Seminar Room, 35 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA Free and open to the public.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Alejandro de la Fuente and Elio Rodriguez
Hiphop Archive, 104 Mount Auburn Street, 2R, Cambridge, MA

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