Professor Larissa Brewer-García

The Slavery and Visual Culture Working Group is proud to announce the launching of Larissa Brewer-García’s new book, Beyond Babel: Translations of Blackness in Colonial Peru and New Granada (Cambridge, 2020). The virtual event will take place on October 30 (Friday), from 12pm to 1pm (CT). See below for the registration link.

Brewer-García is assistant professor of Latin American Literature at the University of Chicago, specializing in colonial Latin American studies with a focus on cultural productions of the Caribbean, the Andes, and the African diaspora. She is also one of the co-founders of the Slavery and Visual Culture Working Group.

Beyond Babel examines the influence of black interpreters and spiritual intermediaries in the creation and circulation of notions of blackness in writings from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish America. It uncovers long-ignored or lost archival materials describing the experiences of black Christians in the transatlantic slave trade and the colonial societies where they arrived. Brewer-García’s analysis of these materials shows that black intermediaries bridged divisions among the populations implicated in the slave trade, exerting influence over colonial Spanish American writings and emerging racial hierarchies in the Atlantic world.

The translated portrayals of blackness composed by these intermediaries stood in stark contrast to the pejorative stereotypes common in literary and legal texts of the period. Brewer-García reconstructs the context of those translations and traces the contours and consequences of their notions of blackness, which were characterized by physical beauty and spiritual virtue.

Three special guests will introduce and discuss the book: Michelle McKinley (University of Oregon), Cécile Fromont (Yale University), and Anna More (Universidade de Brasília).


Registration is required in order to attend this event. To get the registration link, please email

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