“Degrees of Freedom: Intimacy, Slavery, and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Latin America” with Professor Michelle McKinley

January 27, 2014
5:00 pmto6:00 pm

Lewis Lounge, Knight Law Center
1515 Agate St.
UO campus

The University of Oregon School of Law presents the Bernard B. Kliks Professorship lecture:

“Degrees of Freedom: Intimacy, Slavery, and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Latin America,” with Professor Michelle McKinley

Michelle-McKinleyHow could enslaved women assert legal claims to personhood, wages, and virtue, when the law regarded them as mere property? Under what conditions did the civil law of slavery create opportunities for slaves to demand liberty and justice in a judicial forum? This talk will focus on enslaved women as legal actors within the landscape of Hispanic urban slavery: women who were socially disfavored, economically active and extremely litigious. A retrospective look at their freedom suits tells us how enslaved litigants strategically exploited the rhetorical power of liberty through recourse to the law, although their lived realities were decidedly unfree and unequal.

Professor Michelle McKinley is the Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law and a member of the CSWS Advisory Board. Professor McKinley has published extensively on international law, human rights, reproductive rights, and immigration issues, authoring numerous scholarly articles, essays, and works in progress. Her articles appear in the Law and History Review; NYU Journal of International Law and Politics; Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice; Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power; Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, and Unbound: Harvard Law Journal of the Legal Left among others. She has been awarded fellowships for her research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Newberry Library.