Hispanic Baroque

Prof. Renée Soulodre-La France

Department of History | King's University College at the University of Western Ontario

266 Epworth Avenue,
London, Ontario N6A 2M3

Canada
(519) 433-3491 | e-mail

My own work fits neatly into the parameters of the Identities Group as well as the theorectical framework of complexity in the Baroque Atlantic. I am pursuing ongoing research dealing with African cultural practices such as music production in colonial Colombia, always within the context of inter-ethnic relations. My current project focuses upon cofradías in Nueva Granada as transnational corporate institutions through which cultural and religious identites were shaped in the 17th and 18th centuries. Religious brotherhoods created by Africans and their descendents provided an intriguing opportunity for the transection of ethnicity and cultural diversity and the creation and re-creation of cultural practices. This research is still at an incipient stage and involves travelling to various municipalities throughout Colombia as I seek the documentation that will permit me to understand the historical dynamics represented through these ambiguous institutions. The historical literature in Colombia has focused much more directly on those brotherhoods created and maintained by Europeans and Indigenous groups. A comparison of these cofradias to those founded by Africans will deepen our understanding of local religious practice and belief systems and the ways in which African and Indigenous groups shaped the dominant cultural matrix in specific colonial settings. The challenges of this approach are that many of these documents are housed in church archives and thus access is sometimes difficult. As well, in many cases there is a lamentable paucity of documents, especially compared to places such as Cuba and Brazil.