Bethan Fisk

Bethan Fisk


Summary: African-descended religion in the Americas and the Atlantic world; slavery; race and culture in the Caribbean and Latin America

I am a historian of the Caribbean, colonial Latin America, and the Atlanic world and a Teaching Fellow in Caribbean History. I specialize in the history of Afro-Latin America and the African diaspora, with a focus on race, gender, and religion. I conducted my doctoral research at the University of Toronto where I was a Natalie Zemon Davis Fellow, and I have a BA in Historical Studies and MA in Early Modern and Medieval History at the University of Bristol.

Research interests

I am currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, Of Waters and Forests: Black Religions in Caribbean and Pacific New Granada, the first full length study on African-descended religion in eighteenth-century Colombia. Using trial testimonies, governmental correspondence, and ecclesiastical records from fourteen archival and printed book collections in Colombia, Spain, and the United States, the book rewrites the history of early modern New Granada as transculturally diasporic, spanning the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific worlds. With a focus on gender, materiality, and constructions of black criminality, this research illustrates how the Black Atlantic and the Pacific intersected along Colombia’s extensive river network and through black mobility and the circulation of African-descended epistemologies and ritual objects. My second book project focuses in on New Granada’s maroon communities and the importance of gender in understanding the intricacies of their political religiosities and social lives and their relationships with the natural environment and the wider world.

At Leeds, I teach undergraduate modules that cover Caribbean history from the colonial period to the present and contribute to team-taught MA courses. I have presented extensively at conferences and workshops internationally and received major forms of financial support. I am an active member of the historical profession and committed to publicly engaged work.

Selected Publications

“African-Descended Knowledge, Gender, and Reform in New Granada, 1700-1748,” revising journal article for Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies.

“Sinners Too are Saved like Virgins”: the Inquisition and Black Vernacular Religions in the Hispanic Caribbean,” journal article for Atlantic Studies ,” journal article for Atlantic Studies (In Progress)

“The Island Where We Were Born,” accepted to Transition: The Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University (Forthcoming)

“The Fortifications of Bocachica, Cartagena de Indias,” in Alissandra Cummins and Tara A. Innis (eds.) Guide to Slave Route Sites of Memory in the Caribbean (Forthcoming from Caribbean Studies Press).

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • American Historical Association
  • Association of Caribbean Historians
  • Conference on Latin American History
  • The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians