James Almeida is a scholar of Latin America with a focus on understandings of human difference. His current book project—"Minting Slavery, Coining Race: Human Difference, Discipline, and Labor in Colonial Potosí"—explores the development of racial ideologies associated with forced labor practices in Potosí’s colonial mint. Located near the world’s richest silver mine in what is today Bolivia, this institution was the site of a series of overlapping, ambiguous, and coercive labor projects that employed diverse groups of indigenous Andeans, Africans, Europeans, and their descendants.
He is currently working on publishing comparative research about protoindustrial slavery in the Lima mint (in today’s Peru) and pursuing a new research project on the regulation of sexual behavior in Peru.
Almeida has worked in archives and libraries in the United States, Bolivia, Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom. His work has been supported by the American Historical Association, Casa de Velazquez, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and the John Carter Brown Library.
At Oberlin, Almeida teaches lecture courses on colonial and modern Latin American history as well as commodity history of the region. He also offers seminars exploring the entangled histories of race, slavery, gender, and sexuality.
“Suspicious Possession: Policing Silver and Making Race in Colonial Potosí,” Colonial Latin American Review 30, no. 4 (2021): 545-564. DOI: 10.1080/10609164.2021.1996991