Shadow over a continent

NOV long shadowThe Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere
Robert J Cottrol
2013, University of Georgia Press
370 pages, paperback

THIS magisterial study of the legal underpinnings of racism is notable for its comparative approach, providing a groundbreaking overview of the treatment of people of African descent in the Americas that will have an enduring influence on the study of race in the region. Historical work of this kind has hitherto been limited precisely because it has been confined to the false constraints of historical discipline exercised by scholars of US studies and of Latin American and Caribbean studies, but also by temporal constraints that have focused perspectives solely on one era of American history. In a highly ambitious piece of scholarship, Cottrol provides readers with a sophisticated survey of the legal foundations of racism in the US, Brazil and Spanish America that straddles the region’s long and complex racial history since the colonial era yet also engages with contemporary debates.