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Grant number like: FB-53194-07

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Laura A. Lewis
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2007 – 7/31/2008

History, Race, and Place in the Making of Black Mexico

This book project, solicited by Duke University Press, explores variable identities among "black" Mexicans in both Mexico and North Carolina. Utilizing ethnographic techniques, it interrogates the meanings of black-Indianness in San Nicolas Tolentino, a village located in a historically black region of Mexico's southern Pacific Coast of Guerrero. It also looks at shifting identities as San Nicoaldenses migrate to North Carolina, where they undergo what they refer to as a process of "mestizoization" in reference to the Mexican majority "mestizo" (of Indian/Spanish or white mixture). I interpret this shift not as whitening per se but as a denial of the backwardness majority Mexicans ascribe to "Indians" and "blacks."