Religion, Medicine, and Blackness in the Iberian Atlantic

A workshop from Professor Manuel Barcia, Dr Iona McCleery, Dr Bethan Fisk and UCL's Dr Chloe Ireton.

This workshop brings together three members of the School of History and Dr Chloe Ireton (University College London) to talk about their current work on black histories in the Iberian Atlantic world.

People of African descent in the early modern Atlantic world had an adaptive approach to religious knowledge, medicine, and illness. The construction of pluralistic and efficacious religious and medical epistemologies and methodologies, sourced from diverse traditions was an on-going process of transformation across time and space.

Papers explore religion and medicine across the Iberian Atlantic—from Seville, to São Tomé, to Cartagena de Indias, and Cuba—throughout the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. This workshop showcases the growing field of interconnected histories of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds and trajectories particular to the Iberian Black Atlantic.


  • Dr Iona McCleery – ‘Using Disease to Differentiate: Fevers and Fluxes on São Tomé in the mid-sixteenth century’
  • Dr. Chloe Ireton – ‘Entangled Histories: Black Africans’ Visions of Just War and Just Slavery in the Early Spanish Empire’
  • Dr Bethan Fisk – ‘“What filth are you to raise up an altar?”: Afro-Catholic Materialities in the Spanish Caribbean’
  • Professor Manuel Barcia – ‘African healers in the final years of the transatlantic slave trade’


Coffee, tea, and cake will be provided.

This workshop is sponsored by: The Centre for the History of Ibero-America, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, and the Health, Medicine, and Society Research Group, School of History, and the Baines Research Group.