During the seventeenth century, transatlantic and transpacific diasporas created one of the world’s most globalized early modern societies in New Spain. As the slave trades to the colonial centers of central Mexico reached frenetic levels after the turn of the seventeenth century, processes of encounter, exchange, and transmission began to characterize these diverse communities. For “chinos” arriving in Acapulco, careful observation and experience coalesced into mobile bodies of knowledge ranging from the social practice of blasphemy to spiritual ritual. These varied modes of cultural production facilitated negotiation of enslaver/enslaved relations and represented a kaleidoscope of responses to power relations in colonial society. Through these forms of contestation, knowledge production in enslaved communities became central to the rhythms of daily life in New Spain.

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