History ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-17-2017


This dissertation analyzes the history of Afro-descended Peruvians after the abolition of slavery in 1854 until the census of 1940, which asserted that Afro-Peruvians comprised less than two percent of the national population. It combines analyses of primary and secondary sources to examine Afro-Peruvian historical agency, demographic erasure and the politics of censuses, contested definitions of race and citizenship, self-representation in politics, culture, and the arts, as well as the labor history of Afro-Peruvians. The dissertation builds on the framing of Atlantic History to revise prior assumptions that Afro-Peruvians nearly disappeared from census records in the twentieth century because they had positive incentives to adopt whitening strategies in their quest for social mobility. To the contrary, I argue that such universalist frameworks have contributed to the supposed “disappearance” of Afro-Peruvians by demonstrating how the construction of “Peruvian dualism” ignored the possibility of distinct Afro-Peruvian identities within the broadly conceived “Creole” culture along the Pacific coast. I analyze census records in post-abolition Lima, popular and elite discourses of race and citizenship along the Pacific coast, and situate Afro-Peruvians in broader class-based labor and political movements. . While keeping the inherent limitations of the documentary record in mind, this dissertation analyzes a variety of sources to examine Afro-Peruvian realities and their agency in confronting entrenched social practices based on race and a history of slavery to demand an equal place in the nation after abolition.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Judy Bieber

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kimberly Gauderman

Third Committee Member

Dr. Tiffany Florvil

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Carlos Aguirre


Modern Peru, Afro-Latin America

Document Type


Included in

History Commons