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Dr. Ana María Silva Campo is an Assistant Professor in History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is a historian of race, gender, religion, and the law in colonial Latin American cities.

Her book manuscript, Travelers of the Half Moon Gate, studies the formation of religious, gendered, and increasingly racialized hierarchies in Cartagena de Indias, the main port for the trade in African captives in Spanish South America during the seventeenth century. It examines the tension between the political economy of the trade in African captives and Spain’s imperial project to enforce religious orthodoxy. Using the rarely studied financial archives of the tribunal of the Inquisition in Cartagena, Travelers of the Half Moon Gate shows how the Inquisition transformed the city by confiscating and reselling the houses of free women of African descent while preserving the networks that sustained the trade in African captives during the seventeenth century.

Dr. Silva Campo’s work has appeared in English in the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Colonial Latin American Review, and in Spanish in Varia História.

Dr. Silva Campo is also working on two collaborative projects on race and slavery with interdisciplinary teams of researchers. The first one studies the dynamics of enslavement of refugees from the Haitian Revolution in the United States after the ban on the slave trade. The second one compares the histories of South Africans of different racial backgrounds who colonized areas of Patagonia, Argentina, during the twentieth century. As a public scholar, she has curated online and museum exhibits about slavery and its legacies in Colombia and Argentina and written for leading Latin American newspapers, including Argentina’s Clarín.

Dr. Silva Campo teaches courses on Latin America under colonial rule, law and society in Latin America, witchcraft and magic in the early modern world, and women and gender in Latin America.


Notable Publications

“Through the Gate of the Media Luna: Slavery and the Geographies of Legal Status in Colonial Cartagena de Indias,” in The Hispanic American Historical Review  100: 3 (August 2020): 391-421.

“Fragile Fortunes: Afro-descended Women, Property Seizures, and the Remaking of Urban Cartagena,” in Colonial Latin American Review 30: 2 (May 2021): 197-213.

En español:

“Pleitos civiles ante el tribunal de la Inquisición: Privilegios judiciales y poder local en Cartagena de Indias (s. XVII-XVIII),” in “Processos judiciais e escrita da história na América Latina e Caribe,” eds. Mariana Armond Dias Paes and Pedro Jiménez Cantisano, special issue, Varia História 37: 74 (May-August 2021): 361-391. 

Youtube: “Mujeres afrodescendientes, brujería y la transformación urbana de Cartagena de Indias” 


The Law in Slavery and Freedom Project, University of Michigan Law School

From Africa to Patagonia: Voices of Displacement, Michigan Humanities Collaboratory



Department of History

418 Pauli Murray Hall. CB 3195

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265