Roderick McDonald and Michelle Craig McDonald

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

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Few areas of historical scholarship have undergone such dramatic expansion, in so short a space of time, as the study of creolization. Most studies have considered creolization in the context of its relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, a key theme of the field since Melville Herskovits’s The Myth of the Negro Past, first published in 1941. Two opposing assumptions now dominate this branch of the historiography. The first emphasizes continuities between Africa and the Americas, while the second posits the Middle Passage as a traumatic break, a fundamental rupture that removed Africans from most vestiges of their former lives. Adherents of the second assumption focus on how Africans changed after they arrived in the Americas. Since the mid-1980s, models based on European-African interactions have been adapted and applied to the study of native groups in the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America. These analyses not only look at interactions between native peoples and Europeans or Africans, but also between different native peoples themselves, including how they formed and shifted alliances from the 15th through 19th centuries. Most of these studies either use particular themes (e.g., social and family structures, economics, gender and sexuality, religion, race, culture) or geographic regions as their primary lens for exploring cultural adaptation and change, but rarely are these categories discrete. Susan Sleeper-Smith’s work on Mayan women, trade, and Catholicism, for example, appears in the Religion section of this bibliography but might as easily have been listed in Gender and Sexuality or Social and Family Structures. In addition, some strong comparative studies have begun to broaden the field, and as the number of college courses on race, ethnicity, and identity escalate, these are sure to grow in number.

Article.  8472 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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