Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Rutgers University
Website URL
African Diaspora, Slavery, Emancipation and Abolition, Race and Ethnicity, Gender, Atlantic World, Pacific World, Colombia, Andes, Latin America and Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, US South
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Yesenia Barragan is a historian of race, slavery, emancipation, and social movements in Afro-Latin America and the African Diaspora in the Americas and an ethnographer of late capitalism. She is an Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Yesenia is the author of Freedom’s Captives: Slavery and Gradual Emancipation on the Colombian Black Pacific (Cambridge, 2021), which explores the process of gradual emancipation in the majority-Black Pacific lowlands of Colombia, and Selling Our Death Masks: Cash-for-Gold in the Age of Austerity (Zero, 2014), a surrealist ethnography of cash-for-gold shops in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. Freedom’s Captives is the winner of the 2022 Wesley-Logan Prize for the best book in African diaspora history from the American Historical Association and the 2022 Best Book Award for the 19th Century Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and received Honorable Mention for the 2022 Michael Jiménez Prize for the Colombia Section of LASA.

She is the Principal Investigator of “The Free Womb Project,” a multilingual digital collection of gradual emancipation laws across the eighteenth and nineteenth century Atlantic World, and convener of the interdisciplinary “Slavery and Freedom Studies Working Group” of the Scarlet and Black Research Center at Rutgers University. Yesenia is currently embarked on her next book project, A Country of Their Own: African Americans and the Promise of Antebellum Latin America.

Recent Publications
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Africa, Atlantic, Caribbean, Central America, Latin America, Pacific, Spain, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Emancipation, Gender, Law, Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Slavery, Women