Esteban Alfaro Salas is a PhD candidate in African history at the University of Notre Dame. He holds a bachelor degree in history from the University of Costa Rica. He also attended the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, and the Beijing Language and Culture University, Pekin, China, for training in cultural studies and languages. Before coming to Notre Dame, Esteban worked as a research assistant for the UNESCO “Del Olvido a la Memoria” project, on dissemination of African and Afro-Latin American history in Central America. Esteban’s research centers on the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on societies in West Central Africa. His current work focuses on themes of production, trade, labor, slavery, race, and state building in Angola.
My main research interest is the history of the region of Benguela, Angola in the 18th and 19th centuries, the period of the height of the Atlantic slave trade. I focus on issues of political administration, economic relations, land ownership, and the construction of racial categories, giving special attention to gender roles in the development of these topics and the expansion of the Portuguese colonialism in this region. My project builds on the historiographical debate about the contributions of Africa to the building of Modernity, the Atlantic World, and the Age of Revolutions, and the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and European colonialism on African societies.