Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

Marronage as a Past and Present Geography in the Americas

Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

Marronage as a Past and Present Geography in the Americas

Article excerpt

Chattel slavery was a practice found throughout all of the Americas, lasting for hundreds of years and contributing to the assumed a-spatiality of the populations of African descent present in the Western Hemisphere. While oppressed and seemingly dehumanized by the societies in which they found themselves, Blacks in the Americas found myriad ways to struggle against the imposition of a condition of non-being. One such method was that of marronage. More than simply a reaction to slavery and non-being, marronage was perhaps one of the most creative and emergent methods of life-building found in the modern world. Maroon communities, today, occupy national memories in various manners. This paper explores the history and present-day understanding and existence of maroon communities in two American countries--Brazil and the United States. Whereas the history of maroon communities (known as quilombos) were drawn on by the Black Movement in Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s to make claims for land redistribution in wake of the fall of Brazil's Military Dictatorship, the spatial figure of the maroon community is largely absent from the national memory and imagination of the United States. Instead, U.S. Black movements are more frequently associated with advocating inclusionary politics or nationalist separatism. By exploring the effects of the idea of the quilombo as a spatial entity in Brazil and acknowledging the history of maroon settlements in the United States, this paper argues that marronage continues, in the present, as a viable spatial praxis and posits a placement of the maroon community at the forefront of present and future discussions of U.S. human rights.

La esclavitud era una practica encontrado a traves de todas las Americas, que duro cientos de ahosy contribuyo a la asumida a-espacialidad de las poblaciones de ascendencia africana presente en el hemisferio occidental. Mientras oprimidos y aparentemente deshumanizado por las sociedades en las que se encontraban, los negros en las Americas encontraron miles de maneras de luchar contra la imposition de una condition de no ser. Uno de tales metodos es el del cimarron. Mas que una simple reaction a la esclavitud y el no ser, el cimarron fue quizas uno de los metodos mas creativos y emergentes de la creation de la vida que se encuentran en el mundo moderno. Comunidades cimarronas, hoy en dia, ocupan las memorias nacionales de diversas maneras. Este articulo explora la historiayla comprension hoy en dia y la existencia de comunidades de cimarrones en dos paises: Brasily los Estados Unidos de America. Mientras que la historia de las comunidades de cimarrones (conocido como quilombos) se dibuja en el Movimiento Negro en Brasil en los ahos 1970y 1980 para hacer las reclamaciones de redistribution de la tierra en consecuencia de la caida de la dictadura militar de Brasil, lafigura espacial de la comunidad cimarron es en gran parte ausente de la memoria national y la imagination de los Estados Unidos. En cambio, los movimientos negros EE.UU. son mas frecuentemente asociados con la defensa politico de inclusion o el separatismo nacionalista. Al explorar los efectos de la idea del quilombo como una entidad espacial en Brasil y el reconocimiento de la historia de los asentamientos cimarrones en los Estados Unidos, este documento sostiene que marronage continua, en elpresente, como una praxis espacial viable y postula una colocacion de la comunidad cimarron en la vanguardia de las discusiones actuatesyfuturas de los derechos humanos en Estados Unidos.

KEY WORDS: Marronage, Black Geographies, American South, Brazil

PALABRAS CLAVE: cimarron, geografia del Negro, America del Sur, Brasil


Slavery was a condition experienced throughout all of the Americas. Whether it took the form of the encomiendas, which forced indigenous and mestizo peoples of Central and South America to labor on plantations, or the Black chattel bondage that typified North America, the Caribbean, and much of South America, slavery was central to the creation of the Americas and foundational to the societies in which we currently live. …

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