In People of Faith: Slavery and African Catholics in Eighteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro, Mariza de Carvalho Soares introduces readers to two fascinating 1786 documents describing the history, activities, and regulations of a congregation of African freedmen and women based in the Rio de Janeiro Church of Santo Elesbão and Santa Efigênia. These documents, written by a church leader, offer a unique perspective on the construction of identity and ethnicity among Africans in Brazil. The organization was led by Mahis originating from the Mina Coast, but Soares emphasizes that this kind of ethnic label, generally thought of as a nação or nation, only had a specific meaning in the context of the Atlantic slave trade. To highlight her efforts to complicate this ethnic/linguistic/cultural shorthand as well as “the social conditions and geographic routes of the dis placement,” she employs the term provenience (p....

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