Casta painting from Luis de Mena.

Slavery and Race in Colonial Latin America

NEP has published numerous articles and book reviews on Slavery and Race in Colonial Latin America. What hierarchies conditioned the relations between Africans, Europeans, and native groups? How did these socio-racial systems work on the day to day of life in Colonial Latin America? And, how did racially discriminated groups resist? These are some of the key questions addressed in the articles below.

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15 Minute History

Episode 65: Darwinism and the Scopes “Monkey Trial”


Controversies over the theory of evolution are well documented in American society: according to a Gallup poll conducted in the late 1990s, 44% of the American public rejects it in favor of the Biblical account of creation. Has this always been the case? Did Charles Darwin and early proponents of evolution encounter the same objections when the theory was first proposed in the late 19th century? And did evolution come out of nowhere as a radical new idea, taking the world by surprise? Not necessarily, as it turns out.

In an episode recorded on location in London, Adam Shapiro from Birkbeck University describes how evolution was first received in the United States, and the debates that led up to its most famous test–the Scopes “Monkey Trial” held in Dayton, Tennessee, in the 1920s.

Listen to the podcast (or read the transcript) here on our website.

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Episode 64: Monumental Sculpture of Preclassic Mesoamerica

Santa Leticia El Salvador potbelly

The Preclassic period of Mesoamerican history (1500 BC – 200 AD) has left fascinating historical clues about what life was like in the form of monumental sculptures hewn out of boulders commonly called “pot bellies” (barrigones in Spanish) due to their distinctive shape. Yet, despite the fact that writing emerged during this time, the pot bellies lack any sort of description of historical context.  Who built them and why?

Professor Julia Guernsey from UT’s Department of Art and Art History has recently published a book in which she combines the methodology of history, art history, and archaeology to offer a new look into this mysterious period at the beginning of recorded history in the Americas.

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