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Dr. Samantha Billing

Samantha Billing is Assistant Professor of Latin American History. Her research focuses on Indigenous groups in colonial Latin America, specifically those populations that remained independent and outside of European control. She is currently revising her first book project, Making the Miskitu: Indigenous Ethnogenesis in Colonial Central America. This project examines the emergence of a shared ethnic identity among the Miskitu people of Nicaragua and Honduras. By exploring themes such as alliance, race, rulership, extermination, slavery, cartography, and nationalism, Making the Miskitu argues that European colonialism created an environment in which Miskitu identity was created, defined, and renegotiated over the course of two hundred years. Dr. Billing is also beginning work on a second book project that focuses on Indigenous groups targeted by the Spanish empire for extermination during the eighteenth century. Presented as a series of case studies, this project explores why Spain singled out certain Indigenous communities for genocidal policies. This project is also concerned with what these examples tell us about the power and agency of independent Indigenous populations. Her article “Indios, Sambos, Mestizos, and the Social Construction of Racial Identity in Colonial Central America,” was published in Ethnohistory in 2021.