Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 2015

Thesis Advisor

Philippe Bourgois


Nicaragua, along with most—if not all—Central American nations is seldom considered to have a Black or Afro-Latino population. Despite the legacies of colonial Black erasure that bleed into the present day, however, Nicaragua’s Southern Atlantic Coast in particular has been home to Afro-descendants since the early 17th century. Part of Nicaragua’s historical narrative of Black erasure has to do with the white supremacist mestizo nationalism that has plagued the nation since before independence in 1821. While Spanish colonial ideology led to notions of white supremacy on the Pacific coast of the county, the Atlantic Coast was also subject to similar ideological formations under British colonial rule. For reasons relating to white supremacist ideology, colonialism, imperialism, and structural racism, Nicaragua’s Black populations have not always identified as Black. This senior thesis focuses on the Afro-Nicaraguan Creole population in Caribbean Nicaragua, recent appeals to Black identity, and Creole claims to a global Black diaspora. Through an ethnographic exploration of Atlantic Coast history, Creole ethno-genesis, and the racist mestizo nationalist practices of the Nicaraguan state, this project highlights the emerging social movement of Creole Black diasporic politics as deployed through aesthetic production and argues that Creoles are not solely operating under Gramscian “common sense” or legal frameworks to work against the violence of structural and patriarchal anti-Black racism in Nicaragua, but are also imagining what a larger freedom might look like outside national and legal boundaries.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 08 June 2016


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