Title of talk: Kin of the Leeward Port: Afro-Mexicans in Veracruz in the Making of State Formation, Contested Spaces, and Regional Development, 1770-1835

Description of talk:  From his current book project of the same title, “Kin of the Leeward Port” focuses on the understudied Afro-Mexican population of Veracruz and its hinterland of Sotavento (Leeward), and uses it to reframe the historical and historiographical transition between the colonial and national period. It argues that Afro-Mexicans facilitated, complicated, and participated in multiple socio-political processes that reshaped Veracruz and its borderlands.  Malfavón resituates Mexico’s socio-political, cultural, and economic networks with the Atlantic World and the Greater Caribbean, and he dissects and problematizes those networks by centering the Black and Afro-Mexican experience. Blacks and Afro-Mexicans shifted the late-colonial political landscape, connecting Mexico to both the broader Atlantic World and its many revolutions. Malfavón centers Afro-Mexicans both to recover lives and stories often excluded from the Mexican national narrative and to reframe the larger history of liberal politics in nineteenth-century Mexico.

Brief Bio:  Alan Alexander Malfavón received his Ph.D. from UCR in 2021 and is currently Assistant Professor of History at Washington State University.  His research interests center around Afro-Mexican, Greater Caribbean, Atlantic World, Veracruz, and African Diaspora histories.  His work interrogates and subverts archival silences that have sought to erase Black and Afro-Mexican agency from narratives of identity and nation-state formation.  Malfavón diversifies these narratives by foregrounding the voices, perspectives and actions of Afro-descendants as essential political and intellectual players in Mexico’s political and social consolidation as an independent nation.

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  • Max Lashley

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