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Hiding in Plain Sight, Hiding in Plain Sight, 0817320369, 0-8173-2036-9, 978-0-8173-2036-2, 9780817320362, , , Hiding in Plain Sight, 0817392653, 0-8173-9265-3, 978-0-8173-9265-9, 9780817392659,

Hiding in Plain Sight
Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic
Erika Denise Edwards

Trade Cloth
2020. 184 pp.
5 B&W figures / 7 tables
978-0-8173-2036-2
Price:  $54.95 s
Expected Availability 1/28/2020
E Book
2020. 184 pp.
5 B&W figures / 7 tables
978-0-8173-9265-9
Price:  $54.95 d
Expected Availability 1/28/2020

Details how African-descended women’s societal, marital, and sexual decisions forever reshaped the racial makeup of Argentina

Argentina promotes itself as a country of European immigrants. This makes it an exception to other Latin American countries, which embrace a more mixed—African, Indian, European—heritage. Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic traces the origins of what some white Argentines mischaracterize as a “black disappearance” by delving into the intimate lives of black women and explaining how they contributed to the making of a “white” Argentina. Erika Denise Edwards has produced the first comprehensive study in English of the history of African descendants outside of Buenos Aires in the late colonial and early republican periods, with a focus on how these women sought whiteness to better their lives and that of their children.

Edwards argues that attempts by black women to escape the stigma of blackness by recategorizing themselves and their descendants as white began as early as the late eighteenth century, challenging scholars who assert that the black population drastically declined at the end of the nineteenth century because of the whitening or modernization process. She further contends that in Córdoba, Argentina, women of African descent (such as wives, mothers, daughters, and concubines) were instrumental in shaping their own racial reclassifications and destinies.

This volume makes use of a wealth of sources to relate these women’s choices. The sources consulted include city censuses and notarial and probate records that deal with free and enslaved African descendants; criminal, ecclesiastical, and civil court cases; marriages and baptisms records and newsletters. These varied sources provide information about the day-to-day activities of cordobés society and how women of African descent lived, formed relationships, thrived, and partook in the transformation of racial identities in Argentina.
 
Erika Denise Edwards is associate professor of colonial Latin American history and Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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“There is much substance in Hiding in Plain Sight that will surely change not only how historians explain postabolition Argentina, but also the history of the Spanish-American republics during the time when state formation and conceptions of race entangled with abolition.”
—Alex Borucki, author of From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in the Río de la Plata
 
“Powerfully, this book reinterprets the interrelated constructs of whiteness and nation in Argentina from the perspective of African-descended women. In so doing, Hiding in Plain Sight illuminates the gendered languages and initiatives that made possible black women’s (and their children’s) assertions for legal and social belonging—even as these choices entailed a discursive downplaying of blackness in favor of performing Spanish and indigenous identities. A noteworthy contribution to African diaspora as well as women’s and gender studies, Edwards’s book makes the study of both households and the interior city of Córdoba indispensable to thinking about modern Argentina.”
—Celso Thomas Castilho, author of Slave Emancipation and Transformations in Brazilian Political Citizenship
 
“Edwards boldly argues that African-descended women in Córdoba employed their clothing choices, motherly responsibilities, and positions as concubines to transform black identities into white privilege. By exploring intimate struggles, Edwards effectively revises Argentina’s national story of black invisibility to a narrative of black agency of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”
—Rachel Sarah O’Toole, author of Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

“Hiding in Plain Sight is an important contribution to the field of Latin American history, history of the Atlantic World, gender and legal history, and comparative slavery.”
—Fabricio Prado, author of Edge of Empire: Atlantic Networks and Revolution in Bourbon Río de la Plata
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