Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, History, University of Wisconsin / Madison

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, City University of New York (CUNY) / Graduate Center
Recreating Africa: Race, religion, and sexuality in the African-Portuguese world, 1441--1770

Rejecting widely held notions of syncretism, my dissertation argues that some African social and sexual behaviors were deeply rooted in African spirituality and maintained their integrity in Europe and the Americas. By setting aside the Western, Christian lens that privileges categories of marriage, family, and heterosexuality, my dissertation will uncover the deeply held beliefs of West Central Africans who were scattered across the Portuguese world and examine those beliefs on their own terms. In addition, in the case of Brazil, I will show that most slaves retained a spiritual core consistent with their African ethnic backgrounds. As such, the evolution of Brazilian slave culture was shaped not so much by “American” creolization as by changes in the ethnic origins of slaves and cultural shifts in Africa.