Northwestern Events Calendar


Who Dared to Question the Word of a Priest? Free Black Women and Social Capital in 17th-Century Mexico — Danielle Terrazas Williams

When: Friday, March 4, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


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Danielle Terrazas Williams is Lecturer in the History of the Global South at the University of Leeds. She is an historian of colonial Latin America with an interest in global networks. Her research focuses on the social and legal histories of African-descended people in 16th- and 17th-century Mexico, specifically engaging with questions of women’s history, governance, slavery, family, religion, and notions of class and status.

Her first book, The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico (forthcoming in April from Yale University Press), examines how African-descended women strove for dignity in 17th-century Mexico. Free women in central Veracruz, sometimes just one generation removed from slavery, purchased land, ran businesses, managed intergenerational wealth, and owned slaves of African descent. Drawing from archives in Mexico, Spain, and Italy, Danielle Terrazas Williams explores the lives of African-descended women across the economic spectrum, evaluates their elite sensibilities, and challenges notions of race and class in the colonial period.

Her next book project continues her work on the Society of Jesus by examining larger questions of early modern governance and religious acculturation in Mexico.

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