John Milstead

John MilsteadMy research analyzes how people of African descent shaped notions of citizenship in Mexico following independence in 1821. Beginning in the nineteenth century intellectuals, politicians, and historians downplayed the contributions of Afro-Mexicans or wrote them out of national history. However, my research indicates that they played fundamental roles as soldiers, militiamen, and politicians. To trace out these contradictions, my study combines case studies from two specific regions of Afro-Mexican predominance – Jamiltepec, Oaxaca and Córdoba, Veracruz – with an examination of the national discourse of blackness. Essentially, my project will look at how race was constructed at the local level with an analysis of regional politics, economics, and culture so as to understand how the national silencing of Mexico’s African past intersected with the lives of ordinary people in these two regions.

Oaxaca bus

Contact: milstea5@msu.edu

Research interests: 19th and 20th century Mexico

Major field: Latin America and Caribbean

Minor fields: World and U.S.

Committee: Dr. Peter Beattie, Dr. Benjamin Smith, Dr. Vanessa Holden, Dr. Edward Murphy