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Presented By: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

The Premodern Colloquium. Maroon Assemblages: Mexico, from the 21st to the 18th Century.

Adela Amaral, William & Mary

This is a draft chapter from my book, Maroon Assemblages: Mexico, 21st to 17th centuries. The book charts the traces of fugitivity in the eastern jurisdictions of New Spain beginning in the 17th century through to its absences in present-day Amapa, a Oaxacan pueblo that was founded during Mexico’s colonial occupation by Black fugitives who fled sugar haciendas located in the southeastern provinces. The book approaches the practice of colonial fugitivity through Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the assemblage, bringing it into focus as shifting constellations of racialized peoples, geographies, discourses, archives and political projects that crystallize and disperse at different moments in time. I track these constellations across multiple archives—archaeological materials, historical documents, contemporary landscapes, and oral histories. Specifically, this chapter interrogates an image that troubles the legal archives in colonial Mexico—the category of negro cimarrón, or Black maroon—and situates it within a history of Spanish colonial epistemologies, discursive processes, and material practices.

This chapter 1) tracks the fractured process of creating a maroon archive, that is, the physical consignation of documents that repeated and reproduced ‘the question of maroons’; 2) it considers how the colonial category 'maroon' both configured the lived subjectivities of those conscripted into it and how those subjects exceeded it; and 3) it examines maroon durations. By the mid 18th-century, when Spanish colonial officials began to systematically gather sources on maroons, they had already been a centuries-old problem. These archived images, then, folded time, as documents recorded various processes with different material durations such as the fugitive practices of maroons, fluctuating political conditions in New Spain, and colonial ‘problem spaces’ that had outlived their political presents.

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March 26, 2023 (Sunday) 4:00pm
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