Swimming the Christian Atlantic (2 vols)

Judeoconversos, Afroiberians and Amerindians in the Seventeenth Century


Scholarship on the formation of the Atlantic world through contributions from Europe, Africa and the Americas has grown in recent decades. The results offer new understandings of the transformations in ethnic and religious identity faced by peoples from all the surrounding continents. Long used by scholars of Jewish studies, records from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions have become an important source for historians of Africans and Amerindians in the Iberian colonial orbit. Using these and other materials, this book explores race, religion and politics among three newly and incompletely Christianized groups in the seventeenth century: Judeoconversos, Afroiberians and Amerindians. This fresh cross-cultural analysis brings these differing trajectories into dialogue.
Restricted Access


EUR €198.00USD $265.00

Biographical Note

Jonathan Schorsch, Ph.D. (2000) in History, University of California-Berkeley, is Associate Professor of Religion at Columbia University. Specializing in Sephardic history and culture, his previous book was Jews and Blacks in the Early Modern World (Cambridge, 2004).

Review Quotes

This work will be of interest mainly to academic readers in search of analysis of specific inquisitorial cases related to crypto- Jews and Afro- Americans in the colonial Atlantic Iberian world.
Bruno Feitler, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 92, no. 1 (February 2012), pp. 179-181

'Professor Schorsch has achieved a real tour-de-force and this book will be of enormous interest to all those who study the Iberian Atlantic, the Spanish and Portuguese empires, Judeoconversos and the Inquisition and Black African slaves and freedman in the early modern Iberian World. By opening a window onto the world of relations between dominated groups, Schorsch throws open an interesting field of research. The richness of the sources allows Schorsch to abundantly illustrate the points and observations he makes throughout the work.'
Reviews in History, http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/

' Swimming the Christian Atlantic attempts to chart an experientially packed cultural geography conjoining the banks of the Guadalquivir with Lake Texcoco's shores and the surging tides lapping at Cacheu through the common hybridity that all Atlantic communities shared, and a number of chapters provide the richness of detail necessary to that undertaking. [...] Schorsch's mastery of a vast array of secondary sources and printed primary sources, from which he draws many of his examples, lends an Atlantic feel to these more local reconstructions.'
W. Douglas Catterell, Itinierario, vol. 34, issue 2 (2010), pp. 155-157.

Table of contents

List of Maps and Illustrations


1. Identity and Otherness in the Atlantic World
2. The Free and Not so Free, the Christian and the Not so Christian
3. Some Incidents in Cartagena de las Indias
4. Masters and Slaves under the Stare of the Cross
5. Slaves and the Downtrodden Religion of Their Masters
6. Jailed Judaizers and Their Jailers’ Servants
7. Esperanza Rodriguez: A Mulata Marrana in Mexico City

8. The Racial Imagination in the Writings of (Ex-)Conversos
9. (Re)Reading the Old/New World in the 1640s: The Relación of Antonio de Montezinos


Appendix: An Unpublished Letter of Antonio de Montezinos


All those interested in the history of the colonial Atlantic world, the Spanish and Portuguese empires, Jews, African-Americans and Amerindians, as well as scholars of race, religion and ethnic relations.


Collection Information