Women in the Geographies of Marronage - Territorial Intimacy as a Freedom Strategy: The Case of María de Los Santos and Her Bonga

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As a strategy for freedom, marronage has usually been narrated as an initiative of enslaved men who defied colonial power to escape oppression and produce territorialised societies away from slavery. Drawing on historical Maroon studies in Afro-Latin America, feminist geography, and communitarian feminist praxis on territorio-cuerpo-tierra (body-land as territory), this article explores the role of Maroon-descendant women in the making and remaking of territories in the Colombian Caribbean. Records in the General Archive of the Indies, the General National Archive in Bogotá, the Historical Archive of Cartagena de Indias and the oral tradition of Maroon-descendant communities themselves are used to explain the place of women in struggles for territory in the context of violent land dispossession due to Colombia’s armed conflict. This article also demonstrates how the reparation process to claim back lost lands is also a women’s matter. We can understand this as an intimate and affective, almost invisible process, as in colonial times, by analysing the spatial practices of María de Los Santos, an internally displaced woman from the community of La Bonga in San Basilio de Palenque, a town of descendants of fugitives from slavery. These practices, understood through the work of an anthropologist from this community, Jesús Natividad Pérez Palomino, are intimate yet collective and mobilise both the tangible and intangible legacy of marronage to enable her and her people to endure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-99
Number of pages24
JournalFronteras de la Historia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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