What did living free mean to racial subalterns in the mid-nineteenth century? In The Brink of Freedom, David Kazanjian explores this question by analyzing the experiences of African American emigrants in Liberia and Yucatec Maya rebels. Rather than rely solely on a historicist approach, the author critiques historical documents from a philosophical perspective. The result is an innovative study that serves as a model for interdisciplinary research.

The book is divided into two parts, an organization that reflects the author's methodological approach. Like other scholars who have written about Latin American and African diaspora history in tandem, Kazanjian eschews comparative analysis and instead employs juxtaposition as a method to study two seemingly disparate regions. The first part of the book focuses on Liberia and parallels the second half of the book, which centers on the Yucatan. Each part consists of two...

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