Love Magic in the Kitchen—Scholars Share Research on Dangerous Dependencies, Domestic Slavery and Servitude

(l to r): Nara Milanich; Nicole von Germeten; Russ Tomlin; Kris Lane; Michelle McKinley; Law School dean Michael Moffitt; Rachel O'Toole; and Elizabeth Kuznesof (photo by E. Hoffman).

May 4, 2012—Dozens of faculty members, administrators, visiting scholars, and students participated in a roundtable organized by law professor Michelle McKinley and held at the UO Knight Library on May 4. “Dangerous Dependencies: Domestic Slavery and Servitude in the Americas” featured the research of scholars who specialize in Latin American studies across disciplines.

Scholars came from New York City, New Orleans, southern California, Kansas, Corvallis and Eugene to present papers and discuss research ranging from historical legal research on cooperative sorcery and conflict to modern day domestic service of children and women in Latin America. UO senior vice provost for academic affairs Russ Tomlin raised profound and pertinent questions in his opening remarks: “How do women retain dignity in the face of servitude? Why do good people impose servitude?”

Guest presenters included: Michelle McKinley (University of Oregon, Law) “Dangerous Dependencies: Domestic Servitude and Degrees of Freedom in Seventeenth-Century Lima;” Rachel O’Toole (UC-Irvine, History) “Manumitted but not Free: Women Working to Freedom in Colonial Peru;” Nicole von Germeten, (Oregon State University, History) “Love Magic in the Kitchen: Slave Women, Spanish Sorceress, Cooperation and Conflict in Cartagena de Indias;” Nara Milanich, Barnard College, (History and Latin American Studies) “Children, Service, and Household Dependency in Modern Latin America;” Elizabeth Kuznesof (University of Kansas, History & Latin American Studies) (Commentator); and Kris Lane (Tulane University, History) (Commentator).

The roundtable was part of a 2011-2012 collaboration between two research interest groups (RIGs) at the UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society—the Américas RIG and the Law, Culture, and Society RIG—on the theme of “Service and Servitude.” The roundtable was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Department of English, Department of Ethnic Studies, the Oregon Humanities Center, the Americas in a Globalized World Initiative, and the UO School of Law.