The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall
 
 

Bethan Fisk

PhD Program; Course Instructor (First Term)
bethan.fisk@utoronto.ca

Office Location:  Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 3059

Fields of Study Thematic Fields:

Cultural and Intellectual; Gender, Sex, and Sexualities; Migration/Diaspora; Religion and Society; Social

Areas of Interest:

Religion, culture, and politics in the African diaspora, with a particular focus on Latin America and the Caribbean

Biography:

Major and Minor Fields:

Latin America; Caribbean; Sub-Saharan Africa

Supervisor:

Melanie Newton

Dissertation Title:

“‘The Wilderness Within’: African Diasporic Religion in New Granada and the Atlantic World”

Description of Dissertation and Research Interests:

My dissertation explores African diasporic religious ways of knowing at the height of trans-Atlantic slavery, the Bourbon reforms, and the Enlightenment. Utilizing largely unused ecclesiastical records, governmental correspondence, civil and criminal trial documentation from fourteen archival and manuscript collections across Colombia, Spain, and the United States, I engage in a material culture analysis of the social worlds that constituted diasporic religion and how epistemologies of the sacred circulated within them. My dissertation analyzes the diverse everyday practices of people of African descent and argues that the relationship between them was a shared world, one created by the structures of power of Catholicism, the law, and slavery. I illustrate how while eighteenth-century New Granada was a single colony, it was simultaneously a transnational space that was a microcosm of events that occurred across the Iberian Atlantic.

Awards and Scholarships:

External Fellowships / Grants:

2016 American Historical Association Annual Meeting Child-Care Grant
2014 Ruth and Lincoln Ekstrom and John Carter Brown Library Associates Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Short Term Research Fellowship, April – May 2014

University-wide competitions for Fellowships / Grants: University of Toronto:

2016-17 Natalie Zemon Davis Fellow
2014 School of Graduate Studies Research Travel Grant
2013 School of Graduate Studies Conference Grant
2012 School of Graduate Studies Research Travel Grant
2011 School of Graduate Studies Research Travel Grant
2009 Avie Bennett Scholarship, Admissions

Departmental competitions for Fellowships / Grants: Department of History, University of Toronto:

2016 Mark Claster Mamolen Dissertation Workshop on Afro-Latin American Studies, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University
2016 History Conference Travel Grant
2013 History Conference Travel Grant
2012 Craig Brown Travelling Fellowship
2011 Pre-Dissertation Research Grant

Presentations:

Invited Talks

2014 “Conversions, Christianities, and People of Colour in West Africa and New Granada”, Short-Term JCB Fellow’s Talk, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, May 14, 2014

Conference Activity:

Papers Presented:

2016 “The Inquisition, secular courts, and black ritual practitioners in eighteenth century New Granada”, Conference on Latin American History, Atlanta, Invited: Gran Colombia Studies Committee Panel, January 9, 2016
2014 “Tiburcia: Slavery, ethnicity, and sexual violence in late colonial New Granada”,
Sixteenth Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Toronto, May 22 – 25, 2014
2014 “The politics of conversion: conquest, reform and free people of colour in late
Eighteenth-century Caribbean New Granada”, XXXII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Chicago, May 22 – 25, 2014
2014 “Illicit Relations: Households of Colour on Trial in Eighteenth Century Antioquia”,
Conference on Latin American History, Washington D.C., January 2-5, 2014
2013 “Pensamiento religioso afrodescendiente en Cartagena de Indias en los principios del siglo XVIII”, XI Seminario Internacional de Estudios del Caribe, Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena de Indias, July 29-August 2, 2013
2013 “Approaching the sacred: blasphemies of people of colour in late colonial New
Granada”, (Pre-circulated paper), 45th Annual Association of Caribbean Historians Conference, San Ignacio, Belize, May 12-17, 2013

Panels Organized:

2014 “Enslaved histories in Latin America”, Sixteenth Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Toronto, May 22 – 25, 2014
2014 “The politics of slavery and freedom in the revolutionary Atlantic”, XXXII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Chicago, May 22 – 25, 2014
2014 “Forming family: Slavery, Freedom, and the Black Household in New Granada and Colombia , Conference on Latin American History, Washington D.C., January 2-5, 2014

Publications:

Article in progress (based on a chapter), “Slavery and the Ritual World of New Granada and the Iberian Atlantic in the Eighteenth Century”
2016 “The fortifications of Bocachica, Cartagena de Indias”, in Alissandra Cummins and Tara A. Innis (eds.) Guide to Slave Route Sites of Memory in the Caribbean (2016: Forthcoming from Caribbean Studies Press)
2012 Stabroek News, Georgetown, Guyana, “‘Sport speaks to us all’: The politics of race in the football Atlantic” (April 2012)

Education:

  • MA (with distinction), Medieval and Early Modern History, 2008
  • BA (with first class honours), History, 2007
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