Christian Ramirez

Christian Ramirez

Contact Email: ramir174@msu.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Dissertation Title: "¡Palenque!: Cross Cultural Exchange among Indigenous and African Peoples in 17th Century Veracruz, Mexico"

Dissertation Committee: Brendan Mullan (Chair), Isabel Ayala, Steve Gold, and Eric Juenke

Ramirez_Edited.jpgWith the arrival of 16th century Spanish migrants to the Americas came new geopolitical identities, racial and cultural hierarchies, and the transformation of social relationships between and among Indigenous communities in Mesoamerica. The Spanish were accompanied by both free and enslaved Africans who transformed the social, cultural, and racial structures of what would later become New Spain. In the context of this historical reality, this dissertation will explore two Afro-Indigenous palenques, or self-liberated settlements, by the names of San Lorenzo de los Negros (Yanga) andNuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Morenos de Ampa (Mandinga), using a case study approach that combines analysis of primary archival data and secondary literary sources. By exploring self-liberated communities, I will reconstruct a narrative about Afro-Indigenous alliances and their multiple forms of collective resistance against their colonial conditions. The goal is to historicize the African presence as they coalesced with the Indigenous world in New Spain. Additionally, my goal is to demonstrate how European modernity was a key operating ideology in the assignment of their racial/ethnic identities.

In my dissertation, I propose: 1) to investigate and trace the historical processes that made colonial Veracruz a location of cross-cultural exchange; 2) to examine how two distinct colonized groups adapted themselves to their new social relations initiated by Spanish colonialism in order to form their respective palenques; 3) to explore how the Spanish racialization project reorganized the racial/ethnic identities of its’ subjects for colonial stability. Overall, my dissertation addresses the literary gap in Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies concerning the social processes that created the need for palenquesduring the colonial Mexican era.