Black Dancers and Musicians Performing Afro-Christian Identity in Early Modern Spain and Portugal

  • Miguel A Valerio Washington University in St. Louis


This article discusses several early modern Spanish and Portuguese texts that describe Afro-Iberians' festive and confraternal practices in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. While scholars have contended that the early modern Iberian sates and church used conversion and confraternities, or lay Catholic brotherhoods, to integrate Afrodescendants to Iberian society, by linking Afro-Iberians' festive practices to their confraternities, the article contends that these texts underscore how Afrodescendants adapted their African cosmologies and festive customs in the diaspora, rather than totally assimilate to Iberian culture. The article also triangulates Afrodescendants' festive practices in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, suggesting that Afrodescendants thought of the diaspora as an imagined community.

Author Biography

Miguel A Valerio, Washington University in St. Louis
Assistant Profesor of Spanish