In the late sixteenth century, the transatlantic slave trade was transformed from a relatively sporadic commerce to a massive commercial enterprise. It was also an almost exclusively Iberian enterprise, with Portuguese Africa the port of origin and Spanish America the ultimate destination of the majority of enslaved Africans. The early Iberian slave trade, however, suffers from the same lack of documentation that plagues its later manifestations. Against the backdrop of fragmentation and partial documentation, this paper will seek continuities among the few writings that do discuss points along the transatlantic trade route of early Iberian slavery. It will look particularly at figures of exchange as both the building blocks of new trade networks and the ideological link among writings documenting the capture, commercialization and enslaved labor of Africans. The goal of the talk will be to think through the particular relationship between writing and new forms of economic violence in the early modern period.
Anna More is a Professor of Hispanic Literatures in the Department of Literary Theory and Literatures at the University of Brasília and was formerly Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA. She is the editor of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works, a Norton Critical Edition (W.W. Norton, 2016) and author of Baroque Sovereignty: Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora and the Creole Archive of Colonial Mexico (U Penn Press, 2013), which won honorable mention for best book in humanities from the Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association. She is currently working on two book projects. The first examines Iberian writings that connect the geography of the transatlantic slave trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the second is a study of freedom as imagined from the frontiers of late seventeenth-century Iberian world.