Justine Walden

Position title: Honorary Fellow (2020-2023)

Pronouns: She/her

Harvard Villa I Tatti Berenson Fellow 2023-2024; Lecturer, Department of History, UW–Madison 2019-2023.

Portrait image "selfie" of Justine Walden standing in a tree-lined street wearing green earrings and leather straps around her shoulders

What Price Souls: Race and Religion from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and Naming Race in the Renaissance

Justine Walden is a social historian who considers how religious ideals interacted with race, blackness, and enslavement in early modern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Atlantic.

“What Price Souls” shows how in the seventeenth century, Catholic religious orders working in Kongo-Angola, Brazil/New Spain, and the Caribbean began to critique slavery and insist that enslaved Africans be emancipaated.

“Naming Race” uses fifteenth- and sixteenth- century printed Italian works to show how ideas about race emerged in European settings irrespective of colonialism and to reveal race’s distinctly Christian-religious underpinnings. In short, ‘race’ was used to bracket off undesirable nonChristian populations (i.e., Jews and Muslims) by demoting them from a potentially divine status to that of the created and merely animal.

Justine Walden works on how early modern Christianity intersected with ideas and practices of race, blackness, and enslavement. She also works on how relations between Christian Europe and precolonial Africa played out in Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic.