January 16, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Dantas Presents at Center for Atlantic and International History in France

Dr. Mariana Dantas, portrait

Dr. Mariana Dantas

Dr. Mariana Dantas, Associate Professor of History, recently represented Ohio University at the international conference on “The Foundation of Towns along American Coasts: Projects, Experiences, Adaptations.”

Held on Nov. 7-9 at the Research Center for Atlantic and International History of the University of La Rochelle, France, the conference brought together over 60 scholars from different parts of the world to discuss, in a comparative perspective, early urbanization in the Americas. A key element of the British and Portuguese imperial project for their early modern American colonies, urbanization, as revealed in the research the participants shared, more often resulted from various negotiations between European colonizers, indigenous populations, and enslaved Africans. The history of the foundation of towns in these colonial societies thus offers important insights into power relationships, the transformation of space, and the cultural encounters promoted by early modern European imperialism.

Dantas presented the paper “With Zeal and Fervor: Black Brotherhoods, Urban Development, and the Shaping of Urban Life in Colonial Minas Gerais, Brazil.” Her analysis highlights the participation of religious brotherhoods created by enslaved and free Africans and African descendants in the process of urban development in colonial Brazil. She demonstrates that their importance as agents of urbanization allowed the brotherhoods to negotiate with the Imperial Portuguese government as subjects of the Crown, despite the often enslaved status of their members. Dantas presented her paper in French. It can be viewed on the conference’s website.

For more on her research and teaching, visit her History Department profile.

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