Bethan Fisk

Bethan Fisk


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

I am a historian of the Caribbean, colonial Latin America, and the Atlantic 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. My PhD in History is from the University of Toronto, where I was a Natalie Zemon Davis Fellow, and have a BA in Historical Studies and an MA in Early Modern and Medieval History at the University of Bristol.


Research interests

I am currently working on a book manuscript, Quotidian Mobilities: African Diasporic Religions in New Granada and the Iberian World, 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, Transimperial Blackness: Jamaicans in Cartagena de Indias and New Granada, examines the political, social, and cultural lives of enslaved and fugitive Jamaican creoles in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, with a principal focus on Cartagena de Indias. The project analyses the transimperial histories of Jamaica and colonial Colombia through a focus on the slave trade, marronage, and black politics. Most captives arriving in the port of Cartagena de Indias in the eigtheenth century arrived from Jamaica through the British asiento contract system. The examination on the mobilities and political cultures of Jamaican creoles demonstrates the importance of smaller scale migrations and recasts how we think about place and ethnicity in the African diaspora.


Selected Publications

Quotidian Mobilities: African Diasporic Religions in New Granada and the Iberian World (in progress) 

2019    “Quotidian Black Mobilities, Aquatic Worlds and the Politics of Healing” submitted to Atlantic Studies: Global Currents

2020    “Many Middle Passages: Place and the Geographies of Baptism and Slavery” for special issue on Black Geographies in New Granada for The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History (in progress)

2019    “The Island Where We Were Born,” Transition: The Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, no. 127: “Afro-Latin America Rising,” (May 2019), pp. 182-190, Indiana University Press on behalf of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University

<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

Student education

At Leeds, I teach undergraduate modules that cover Caribbean history from the colonial period to the present and contribute to team-taught MA courses.