EMIGF I: Camila Collins Araiza and Yixin Alfred Wang

When and Where

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Burwash Common Room
Victoria College
85 Charles St W


Camila Collins Araiza
Yixin Alfred Wang


27 Sept. 2023

4:00-5:30 PM

Location:   Burwash Common Room (85 Charles St W)


Camila Collins Araiza
PhD Candidate, Department of History and Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

“Jews, Gender, and Slave Law in Colonial Barbados: Clause XVII of ‘the Act’”

From its enactment in 1688 to its repeal in 1706, Clause XVII of the ‘Act for the Governing of Negroes’ targeted, and restricted, the ability for Jewish settlers in colonial Barbados to participate in the institution of slavery. This presentation examines Clause XVII (17) from a combined legal, gender, and social perspective(s). It proposes that by legally preserving certain economic and social acts for white Christians, Jews were kept at the fringes of white colonial society. Further, it reveals the legal and social gendering of African men as ‘hyper masculine’, of enslaved women as ‘passive’, and of (white) Jewish masculinity as not being equal to that of white Christian masculinity.  This presentation is an excerpt from a larger work titled ‘A Study of the Legal History and Status of Jewish Settlers in Colonial Barbados, 1625-1760.’


Yixin Alfred Wang
PhD candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto

“In Search of Prester John and His Ethiopia: Italian Navigators in West Africa, 1455-1456.“

In the mid-15th century, Italian navigators were sought after by Iberian and French nobles who had colonial and commercial designs in the Atlantic Islands and West Africa. The reports they subsequently produced for their associates and employers contain voluminous accounts on not only the exotic flora and fauna they saw—which could be turned into tradables—but also the peoples they encountered. In the backdrop of Portuguese colonial expansion, this article investigates how the travelogues of two Italian navigators (under the employment of Prince Henry “the navigator” of Portugal) demonstrate the Latin-European perception of human variation in the Senegambia in the 15th century. In dissecting the ethnography in the writings of Cadamosto and Usodimare, I argue that religion and skin color did not always determine Latin-Europeans’ perception of the Other. I reject the assertion that early modern Latin-European travelers interpret “Otherness” with universal and systematic criteria. In doing so, I show that “Europe” only became a cultural expression through centuries of discourse concerned with the world outside of the Mediterranean. Bringing together travel literature, postcolonial studies, and the history of medicine, this article aims to shed new light to European colonial expansion in the so-called early Global Age


The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum 2023-2024 will be hosted as a hybrid event, with our speakers presenting in person at University of Toronto. Our goal is to encourage early modern scholars to return to meeting in person, socialize, network, and become part of the early modern community in the Greater Toronto Area. Coffee and light snacks will be provided for all EMIGF events this year. For those who cannot attend in person, we will also make the event accessible on Zoom.

Contact Information


85 Charles St W