The University Consortium on Afro-Latin American Studies Will Examine Western Hemisphere Slavery

The Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University is partnering with five other institutions to establish the University Consortium on Afro-Latin American Studies.

The consortium — which includes Grupo de Estudios Afrolatinoamericanos, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), AFRO Núcleo Pesquisa e Formaçāo Raça, Gênero, Justiça Racial, CEBRAP (Brazil), Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos, Universidad ICESI (Colombia), Afrodescendientes y Diversidad Cultural, INAH/UNAM (Mexico), and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh — will examine the contributions of African descendants to Latin American history and culture. It hopes to transform higher education in the Americas by reshaping curriculum and integrating ideals of racial and social justice into scholarship.

Partner institutions hope to “transform forever the landscape of studies of the history and culture of the African diaspora into Latin America,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. “While we must never lose sight of the legacy of slavery on this continent, so too we must change our focus to take in the wider world of the transatlantic slavery.”

Of the 10.7 million Africans who survived the Middle Passage, 4.9 million were taken to Brazil, another 1 million arrived in Jamaica, and millions more were taken to various islands in the Caribbean.

The consortium will be funded in part by a $1.7 million grant from the Ford Foundation.

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