Chambacu as Text and Space in Colombia's (Black) History

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Ligia S. Aldana


In the 1990s, constitutional reform marked a shift towards the inclusion of Afrodescendants and their place in the Colombian nation. In spite of strides already made, Colombia is still reluctant to move towards inhabiting its place in the African Diaspora to fully recognize the reach of its African heritage and the contributions of African descended peoples to the country's race for political and economic modernity. Only by recovering and reconstructing a New History, rooted in the histories of the Diaspora, and by recreating an inclusive literary canon, will Colombia's goals of embracing participatory citizenship and national inclusiveness be reached. This paper aims to aid this process by addressing the history of the legendary space of Chambacú, a Black urban settlement that existed from the eighteen century through the 1980s in Cartagena, Colombia, and its literary representation, to seal Colombia's place in the African Diaspora, and to reconstruct a national imaginary long purged of its African roots.

Key words:  Chambacú, Colombian Afrodescendants, Afrocolombians, Cartagena

Article Details

Author Biography

Ligia S. Aldana, SUNY New Paltz

Ligia S. Aldana

Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean lliterary and cultural studies

Director, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program

Dept. of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
SUNY New Paltz

Ligia S. Aldana is Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean literatures, and cultural studies at SUNY New Paltz. Her most recent articles have been published in Callaloo, Afro-Hispanic Review, The International Journal of Cultural Policy, Revista de estudios colombianos, Publications of the Afro Latin American Research Association, and Revista UNICARTA. She is currently working on two book manuscripts, Chambacú, Raza y Modernidad en el Caribe colombiano  and Champeta, Race and National Belonging in the Colombian Caribbean.