Herman L. Bennett, who has served on the GC faculty as professor of history since September 1, 2009, is to be honored with the 2012 Equity Award from the Committee on Minority Historians of the American Historical Association (AHA). The prize recognizes individuals and institutions that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the historical profession.
Bennett is a renowned scholar on the history of the African diaspora, with a particular focus on Latin American history. Through his work, he has called for scholars to broaden the critical inquiry of race and ethnicity in the colonial world. He has written extensively on the presence of African slaves and freedmen in Mexican society during the colonial period and on the consequent interaction between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in colonial Mexico. His books include Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Indiana University Press, 2009) and Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640 (Indiana University Press, 2003), in which he offers a social historical examination of free Afro-Mexican kinship practices in the mature and late colonial periods. Bennett has received fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has lectured widely in Europe and the Americas, and came to the Graduate Center from Rutgers University after starting his scholarly career at Johns Hopkins University. Bennett holds a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Duke University, where he was a Mellon Scholar of the Humanities.
The award will be announced in AHA’s November issue of Perspectives on History and presented during the annual meeting of the AHA in January 2013.