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Events
Date
March 9, 2023
Time
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location
Bunche 6275 & Zoom
Contact



Marc Hertzman, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Flying Home? Palmares and the Afterlife 

Most histories of Palmares, the sprawling collection of settlements in Brazil that became perhaps history’s largest fugitive slave society, end in 1695, when colonial forces assassinated the famous rebel leader Zumbi. My book project plays the story forward into the eighteenth century to propose a new way to think about maroon communities across the Americas. Palmares and other such settlements have rightfully been understood as spaces of diasporic refuge and resistance; but unless descendants can trace their lineage directly back to them, through land possession or genealogy, scholars implicitly define them as endpoints: formerly enslaved people either lived out their days there or were recaptured or killed. I advance a new framework that treats maroon communities as points of origin, capable of generating their own unique diasporas. Along with Palmares’s previously overlooked human diaspora—members who were captured in or fled Palmares—I examine the pathways along which inheritances and memories of Zumbi and Palmares survived after 1695: canonical historical texts; the lives and travels of soldiers who fought against Palmares; soldiers’ claims (most embellished) to killing Zumbi, which they turned into heritable wealth; previously ignored place names that made elements of the natural landscape memorials to Palmares and Zumbi; and spiritual traditions, which remain an important locus of history and memory.