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Olliz Boyd, Antonio. The Latin American Identity and the African Diaspora: Ethnogenesis in Context
2010, Cambria Press
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Added by: Adriana Clavel-Vázquez
Publisher’s Note: Olliz Boyd’s essay examines Blackness in the Latin American literary practices with the aim of showing its centrality to Latin American cultures. He argues that the African heritage of Latin America has been erased as a result of Eurocentric mestizaje. Olliz Boyd first examines this erased heritage in the understanding of race in Latin America and its peculiar processes of racialization, before moving on to centring the analysis on aesthetic practices and literature in particular. Olliz Boyd’s essay examines the erasure of Afro-Latininidad from a perspective that differs from Hooks’ analysis of the erasure of self-identified Afro-Latin communities. He argues that mestizos in general have mixed-race roots that include not just European and Indigenous ancestry, but African as well. The erasure of Afro-Latininidad is, thus, more radical as it involves the negation of an Afro-Latin reality at the heart of mestizaje.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Olliz Boyd’s work brings forward the third root of Latin America: the relevance of the African diaspora for the constitution of Latin American identities. An adequate understanding of the complexity of race in Latin America involves not just understanding the erasure of Afro-Latin communities, but the erasure of the contributions of African cultures to mestizo culture. It might be that the latter erasure partly explains the former.

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