Miguel Valerio, "Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640" (Cambridge UP, 2022)


Sovereign Joy Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) explores the performance of festive black kings and queens among Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640. It illustrates how the first African and Afro-creole people in colonial Mexico transformed their ancestral culture into a shared identity among Afro-Mexicans, with particular focus on how public festival participation expressed their culture and subjectivities, as well as redefined their colonial condition and social standing. As the book shows, through performance, Afro-Mexicans affirmed their being: the sovereignty of joy, and the joy of sovereignty.

Dr. Miguel Valerio is assistant professor of Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a scholar of the African diaspora in the Iberian world and teaches courses in Afro-colonial culture and contemporary Afro-Latin American literature and culture. His research has focused on black Catholic brotherhoods or confraternities and Afro-creole festive practices in colonial Latin America, especially Mexico and Brazil. His work has been published in several academic journals, and he is also the co-editor of Indigenous and Black Confraternities in Colonial Latin America: Negotiating Status through Religious Practices (Amsterdam University Press, 2022). He is currently working on his second book project, Architects of Their World: The Artistic and Ritualistic Spaces of Afro-Brazilian Irmandades (under contract with Cambridge University Press).

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Isabel Machado

Isabel Machado is a cultural historian whose work often crosses national and disciplinary boundaries.

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