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Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America

Editor(s): Jerome C. Branche

Imagine the tension that existed between the emerging nations and governments throughout the Latin American world and the cultural life of former enslaved Africans and their descendants. A world of cultural production, in the form of literature, poetry, art, music, and eventually film, would often simultaneously contravene or cooperate with the newly established order of Latin American nations negotiating independence and a new political and cultural balance. In Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America, Jerome Branche presents the reader with the complex landscape of art and literature among Afro-Hispanic and Latin artists. Branche and his contributors describe individuals such as Juan Francisco Manzano, who wrote an autobiography on the slave experience in Cuba during the nineteenth century. The reader finds a thriving Afro-Hispanic theatrical presence throughout Latin America and even across the Atlantic. The role of black women in poetry and literature comes to the forefront in the Caribbean, presenting a powerful reminder of the diversity that defines the region.

All too often, the disciplines of film studies, literary criticism, and art history ignore the opportunity to collaborate in a dialogue. Branche and his contributors present a unified approach, however, suggesting that cultural production should not be viewed narrowly, especially when studying the achievements of the Afro-Latin world.

Biography of Editor(s)

Jerome C. Branche is Associate Professor of Latin American and Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He is author of The Poetics and Politics of Diaspora: Transatlantic Musings and editor of Race, Colonialism, and Social Transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean.


  • "An important contribution to the study of the lives and artistic production of Afro-Hispanics and Afro-Brazilians and to the expansion of what is considered literary and cultural studies. I think that this study reminds us of the important fact that black writers have taken up the pen, the camera, etc., despite opposition from a variety of institutions and social structures and despite the likelihood of having limited influence or of censorship. This in turn suggests the force of black writing as means of self-expression and community building and of dissenting with prevailing ideologies."
    --Julia Paulk, editor of Dominant Culture and the Education of Women