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Personal profile

Research interests

I am lecturer in colonial Latin American history and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies. My research focuses on black knowledge and cultural geographies in New Granada (Colombia) and the Caribbean. My teaching explores black and indigneous knowledge production, slavery, and religion in Spanish America and the early modern world. 

My most recent article (available open access) “Transimperial mobilities, slavery, and becoming Catholic in eighteenth-century Cartagena de Indias” examines the tranimsperial mobilities of enslaved sailors and their circulation of religious knowledge through Inquisition trial records. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14701847.2022.2140950

I am finishing a book about black religions in New Granada. "Between Waters and Forests: Black Religions in Eighteenth-Century Colombia" will be first full-length study on African-descended religion in eighteenth-century New Granada. Focusing on New Granada’s Caribbean and Pacific coastal regions and the territories that connect them rather than the Viceroyalty’s imperial and geographic centre, the book examines sites that were shaped by slavery and which had large black, indigenous, and Afro-indigenous populations. Examining the Caribbean (the provinces of Cartagena de Indias, Santa Marta, and Riohacha), Antioquia, and the Pacific (Chocó and Popayán), "Between Waters and Forests" argues that place, space imbued with meaning, played a constitutive role in black religious practice. While most analyses of black religions have centred on the plantation or the city, this book is a study of religions in different sites—cities, towns, haciendas, mines, and rochelas (small, free rural communities) and palenques (or maroon communities, settlements of escaped enslaved people and their descendants). Place offers crucial avenues for understanding how African diaspora religions were practiced in and shaped by local contexts and by global mobilities, economies, and colonial structures.

My second project, for which I received the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, explores black mobilities and shared histories of slavery and freedom between New Jamaica and Colombia. 

I recently received the Atlantic Studies Early Career Prize for my 2021 article “Black knowledge on the move: African diasporic healing in Caribbean and Pacific New Granada." 

About the Atlantic Studies Early Career Prize https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/rjas20/collections/best-paper-prize-atlantic-studies 

The judges, Prof. David Lambert, University of Warwick and Prof. Brooke Newman, Virginia Commonwealth University, commended the article with the following: 'In “Black knowledge on the move: African diasporic healing in Caribbean and Pacific New Granada,” Bethan Fisk challenges conventional assumptions about the cultural geographies of the African diaspora and the construction of Black healing and ritual knowledge in seemingly distinct sites of enslavement. Using an impressive array of fragmentary judicial records, she shows how African-descended healers in Caribbean and Pacific New Granada moved in and between Atlantic and Pacific regions, creating and exchanging Black healing and religious practices through everyday movement and interactions.'



  • Slavery
  • Colonialism
  • New Granada
  • Colombia
  • Place
  • Religion and Environment
  • Knowledge production
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean
  • Pacific


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