Black Saints in Early Modern Global Catholicism

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From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Spanish and Portuguese monarchs launched global campaigns for territory and trade. This process spurred two efforts that reshaped the world: missions to spread Christianity to the four corners of the globe, and the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. These efforts joined in unexpected ways to give rise to black saints. Erin Kathleen Rowe presents the untold story of how black saints - and the slaves who venerated them - transformed the early modern church. By exploring race, the Atlantic slave trade, and global Christianity, she provides new ways of thinking about blackness, holiness, and cultural authority. Rowe transforms our understanding of global devotional patterns and their effects on early modern societies by looking at previously unstudied sculptures and paintings of black saints, examining the impact of black lay communities, and analysing controversies unfolding in the church about race, moral potential, enslavement, and salvation.
Publication Date: 
January 31, 2020