From the domestic to the street: Black Women’s Geographies in Lima

Authors: Maria Roxana Escobar Nanez*, University of Toronto
Topics: Women, South America, Latin America
Keywords: Afro-Peruvians, Peru, Black Geographies
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 10
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the history of Lima, the capital of Peru, the presence of Afro-descendant women is continuously erased. Similar to other contexts in the region, mestizaje ideologies—based on a dualism between Indigenous and European identities—are at the core of anti-Black racism in Peru. As a result, Black lives and Black worlds are mostly omitted from national projects. Afro-descendant women are among the most impacted by this exclusion. Afro-Peruanas have actively participated in the formation and reproduction of Lima since the colonial period by being part of the domestic and the public's urban infrastructure, organizing the rhythm of the city. These women played a vital role in selling food and other products of daily consumption on the streets. Also, their labour made domestic spaces possible (colonial houses, convents, and brotherhoods).
Additionally, they were the protagonist of black placemaking (Hunter et al. 2016), contributing to spaces of joy and entertainment, like peñas criollas and pulperias, present in Lima today. My presentation uses poems, songs, and pictures of Afro-Peruanas artists and activists to explore the different expressions of urban black women's geographies in Lima. Following McKittrick (2007), I study Afro-Peruvian women geographies within a historical present geographies framework to understand how these women's lives contest Lima's spatial narrative.


Hunter, Mark Anthony; Patillo, Mary; Robinson, Zandria F.; Taylor, Keeanga-Yahmahtta. 2016. Black Placemaking: Celebration, Play, and Poetry. Theory, Culture & Society 33(7-8): 31-56.

McKittrick, Katherine. 2007. “Freedom is a place”. In Black geographies and the politics of place, edited by Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods, 97-114

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