Historian Dr. Magdalena Candioti Sheds Light on Afro-Argentine Community

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IES Abroad
June 12, 2023
Dr. Candioti giving lecture

Within our commitment to diversity at IES Abroad, we believe in exploring historical development and race relations in the countries where we host our students, and our staff live. This offers students invaluable opportunities to contemplate the similarities and differences within international history, and their own. As part of that goal, IES Abroad Buenos Aires students and faculty had the privilege of engaging in a captivating discussion with Historian Magdalena Candioti, Ph.D. regarding slavery and emancipation in 19th-century Argentina. 

In her lecture, Dr. Candioti revealed the crucial history of the Afro-Argentine community, noting that in the 1820s, Afro-Argentines constituted approximately 30% of the population in Buenos Aires and actively participated in civil society. However, over subsequent decades, the community faced marginalization and was gradually erased from Argentine society. She shared that this was influenced by factors including:  

  1. Pauperization  
  2. Influx of European immigrants who arrived en masse at the turn of the 19th century 
  3. Informal segregation policies and exclusion from the public sphere 

Challenging prevailing misconceptions, Dr. Candioti highlighted that Afro-Argentines were a substantial and culturally vibrant community during the colonial period and its aftermath. As a measure of its relevance, between 1820 and 1870, there were over 40 Afro-Argentine civic associations solely in Buenos Aires. She emphasized that slavery was not a "mild" or "benign" institution in comparison to its Anglo-Saxon American counterpart, and she dispelled the notion that emancipation unfolded seamlessly without eliciting any resistance or violence from the elites. 

Dr. Candioti Headshot
“There are several wrong assumptions about the experience of Afro-Argentines in Buenos Aires, including: ´The number of slaves brought to the country was irrelevant. ´ ´Slavery in the region was a benign institution when compared to that of North America´ ´After emancipation, Afro-Argentines had the chance to integrate with the white population and to move socially upwards.´ None of these assumptions are actually true. This lecture is about debunking all these wrong myths.”
Dr. Magdalena Candioti • IES Abroad Buenos Aires

Adding to our mission to create meaningful and culturally immersive opportunities for students, we offer a course titled "The Making of Patagonia: An Interdisciplinary Approach," which exposes students to various Mapuche indigenous communities, allowing them to engage in interviews and learn about the history and anthropology of Argentine Patagonia and its inhabitants, with a main focus on the relationships between indigenous peoples and territory over time. This experience significantly enriches their understanding as global citizens and provides a deeper understanding and broader representation of Argentine Patagonia. 

Dr. Candioti giving lecture
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