Sherwin K. Bryant


Sherwin K. Bryant
Director, Center for African and African American Studies
Associate Professor
Rice University


Sherwin Bryant previously served as an associate professor of Black studies and history at Northwestern University. He is the former co-director of the Andean Cultures and Histories working group in the Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies and a former director of Northwestern’s Center for African American History .

Bryant’s work, which has appeared in journals including The Americas and Colonial Latin American Review, explores the lives of people of African descent in Latin America, especially in the north Andean regions of what are now Ecuador and Colombia. His first monograph, “Rivers of Gold, Lives of Bondage: Governing through Slavery in Colonial Quito,” (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) is the first English language examination of slavery in Ecuador and southern Colombia, advancing an understanding of the early modern history of race as a way of showcasing the political importance of slavery in the Americas. He is also the co-editor of “Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora,” (University of Illinois Press, 2012), an early state-of-the-field volume expanding the history and importance of Afro-Latin American studies.

Bryant is also the 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholar and Society Fellow with the African American Heritage Foundation of Southeastern North Carolina, where he was the principal investigator for “Just Across the River: Black Histories of Brunswick County,” a place-based, community-engaged research project that explores the history of slavery and the Black communal formation in Brunswick County just across the river from Wilmington, North Carolina. The work includes a series of oral histories that concern the history of Black sacred and social spaces such as churches, cemeteries, schools and juke joints to make visible regional Black geographies in the face of development and displacement.

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