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Interamerican Dialogues and Experimentations in the Spanish South American Gradual Abolitionist Process (1810–1870)  

Magdalena Candioti

Between 1811 and 1870, policies of gradual abolition of slavery were deployed in Hispanic South America. They consisted of two fundamental measures: the prohibition of the transatlantic slave trade and the enactment of free womb laws that prevented the enslavement of newborn children. These antislavery policies were adopted in contemporary Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay in an implicit and explicit Interamerican and Atlantic dialogue as well as with strong doses of experimentation. The processes also unfolded as the second slavery expanded in Brazil and the Caribbean. A first set of antislavery policies was deployed between 1811 and 1830, and the wave of definitive abolitions occurred mostly in the 1850s. There were exceptions to this periodization with very early examples of complete abolition (such as Chile in 1826) or very late examples of gradual abolition (Paraguay in 1842). In any case, a common feature in these processes was the extension of the dependency of persons of African descent through the creation of different kinds of freedmen’s status, tutelages, or patronatos. Laws declared the right to freedom but established conditions that extended unfree labor and subjection for years and even decades, othering and stigmatizing the free and freed offspring of the African diaspora in Spanish South America.

Article

The Paraguayan Illustrated Press during the War of the Triple Alliance  

Leonardo de Oliveira Silva

The War of the Triple Alliance converted Paraguay into a scene of devastation. The conflict with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay—the Triple Alliance—resulted in innumerous killings and the destruction of Paraguay’s economy as well as its natural and urban spaces. Halfway through the war, when the imminent collapse of the country was evident, Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López brought together a group of intellectuals to establish an illustrated press to boost the troops’ morale while criticizing and ridiculing the enemy. In only a few months, Paraguay saw the creation of three illustrated periodicals: El Centinela (April 1867–February 1868), Cabichuí (May 1867–August 1868), and Cacique Lambaré (July 1867–September 1868). Publishing texts and cartoons, these newspapers played a crucial role in engaging the heterogenous Paraguayan population while solidifying racial discrimination against Afrodescendants. The legacy of these illustrated publications was the increased valorization of the Paraguayan identity (which was fundamental during the reconstruction years). On the other hand, this state-controlled press promoted discrimination against groups portrayed as not belonging to the Paraguayan self-image.

Article

Witchcraft in Colonial Latin America  

Nicole von Germeten

The European ideas associated with witchcraft came to the Americas as a multipronged weapon of imperialism, a conception of non-Christian beliefs not as separate worldviews but as manifestations of evil and the reigning power of the devil over Indigenous peoples and, slightly later, African slaves and free people of African origins or heritage. To create this imperialist concept, colonizers drew from a late medieval demonological literature that defined witchcraft as ways of influencing one’s fate through a pact with the devil and the ritual of witches’ sabbaths. Through the court structure of the Holy Offices of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, Iberian imperialists set up judicial processes that they designed to elicit confessions from their colonial subjects regarding their involvement in what was labeled witchcraft and witches’ sabbaths, but which was most likely either non-European beliefs and practices, or even popular European ideas of healing. Archival documents from the Holy Office fueled Europeans’ vision of themselves as on the side of cosmic good as well as providing some details regarding popular practices such as divination and love magic. Whatever ethnographic details emerge from this documentation, the use of the terminology of witchcraft always signals an imperialistic lens.