In a recent article on redress for the wrongs of slavery, a legal scholar was quoted as saying dismissively, "Reparation may be awarded only for what was internationally unlawful when it was done...and slavery and the slave trade were not internationally unlawful at the time the colonial powers engaged in them." In the morning session of this international scholarly conference, by contrast, we will focus on the ways in which 19th-century societies did allow the transportation of captives from Africa to proceed in violation of both international and national law, and in many cases permitted the enslavement of legally free persons.
The afternoon session will look at efforts that have been made within the frameworks of law and constitutionality in the 20th and 21st centuries to redress the wrongs done to workers currently held in conditions "analogous to slavery" and to expand the concept of respect for the dignity of persons more generally. Again drawing on experiences in Brazil, our speakers will look at the legal structures of the campaign against contemporary slavery and at the re-definition of rights to marriage to incorporate same-sex unions.
This conference represents a collaboration among three scholarly initiatives at the University of Michigan: the Program in Race, Law & History at the Law School; the U-M Brazil Initiative administered through the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; and the Law in Slavery and Freedom Project. All sessions will be free and open to the public.
Rebecca J. Scott, Professor of History and Lawfor the Program in Race, Law & History and the Law in Slavery and Freedom Project
Sueann Caulfield, Associate Professor of Historyfor the U-M LACS Brazil Initiative
Photo by João Ripper, 1999. Workers on a farm on which inspectors discovered conditions of slave labor. The inspectors and prosecutors issue each worker an identity card (carteira assinada) enumerating labor rights, in order to help protect against subsequent abusive recruitment.
Panel I: Enslavement in 19th-Century Brazil
0220 South Hall
10:00 A.M.- Noon
Chair: Rebecca Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Illegal Enslavement and International Law in the Southern Border of the Brazilian Empire Keila Grinberg, Associate Professor of History, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Illegal Slave Trade in the Courts: Proving Slave Ownership vs. Claiming FreedomBeatriz Gallotti Mamigonian, Professor of History, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Comment: Julius S. Scott, Lecturer in History and Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan
Panel II: State Guarantees of Human Dignity: Constitutional Frameworks and Courtroom Struggles
1020 South Hall
Chair: Victoria Langland, Associate Professor of History and Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan
Dignity Guarantees in the 1988 Constitution: Giving Juridical Meaning to a ConceptCristiano Paixão, Professor of Legal History and Constitutional Law, University of Brasília, Brazil
Dignity, the 1988 Constitution, and Same-Sex MarriageSueann Caulfield, Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan
Comment and discussion: Paulina Alberto, Associate Professor of History and Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan
Paulina Alberto, University of MichiganPaulina Alberto is an associate professor in the departments of history and romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan, where she teaches in Spanish and Portuguese. Her work focuses on issues of race and nation, racial ideologies, and racial politics in 20th-century Latin America, particularly Brazil and Argentina. She is the author of Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil (UNC Press, 2011) and is currently working on a new project titled Racial Stories: Lives, Deaths, and Afterlives of Argentina's 'Negro Raúl'.
Leonardo Barbosa, Chamber of Deputies, BrazilLeonardo Barbosa teaches constitutional law and legislative process at the Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development at the Chamber of Deputies (Brasília, Brazil) and is the senior legislative attorney to the Office of the Clerk at the Chamber of Deputies. His current research deals with Brazilian constitutional history and with constitutional and election law. He received both doctor and master of law degrees from Brasília University.
Sueann Caulfield, University of MichiganSueann Caulfield is an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan. She specializes in the history of modern Brazil, with emphasis on gender and sexuality. She has published on the topic of gender and historiography, family, race, and sexuality in Brazil. She is currently working on a social history of the concept of legitimacy in twentieth-century Brazil.
Keila Grinberg, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Keila Grinberg is an associate professor of history at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. She is an expert on slavery, civil law, and citizenship in Brazil, subjects on which she has published in the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere.
Victoria Langland, University of Michigan Victoria Langland is an associate professor in the departments of history and romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan. She is a historian of 20th-century Brazil whose research interests include dictatorship, memory politics, student and other social movements, gender, and U.S.-Latin American relations.
Beatriz Gallotti Mamigonian, Universade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil Beatriz Gallotti Mamigonian is a professor of history at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil. Her current research concentrates on the social, legal, and political consequences of the abolition of the slave trade and large-scale illegal enslavement in 19th-century Brazil. She has co-edited, with Karen Racine, two collections of biographies, The Human Tradition in the Black Atlantic and The Human Tradition in the Atlantic World (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009 and 2010, respectively) and, with Joseane Zimmermann, História Diversa: Africanos e Afrodescendentes na Ilha de Santa Catarina (University of Santa Catarina Press, 2013).
Cristiano Paixão, University of Brasília, BrazilCristiano Paixão is a professor of legal history and constitutional law at the University of Brasília, Brazil. He holds a PhD in constitutional law from Federal University of Minas Gerais and an LLM in legal theory from the Federal University of Santa Catarina. He was a visiting researcher in modern history at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (Italy). He is also a member of the Amnesty Commission and the Labor Prosecution Office at the Ministério da Justiça (Department of Justice) in Brazil. He is the author (with Renato Bigliazzi) of História Constitucional Inglesa e Norte-Americana: Do Surgimento à Estabilização da Forma Constitucional (UnB, 2011) and Modernidade, Tempo e Direito (Del Rey, 2002).
Julius S. Scott III, University of MichiganJulius S. Scott teaches in both the Department of History and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. Prof. Scott's research explores networks of communication as crucial dimensions of Afro-diasporic politics and identity, demonstrating the level of ideological debate and international organization that existed among African Americans in the New World during the age of revolution. Among his publications are "Afro-American Sailors and the International Communication Network: The Case of Newport Bowers" in Jack Tar in History: Essays in the History of Maritime Life and Labour (Acadiensis Press, 1991) and "Crisscrossing Empires: Ships, Sailors, and Resistance in the Lesser Antilles in the Age of Revolution" in The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Expansion (University Press of Florida, 1996).
Rebecca J. Scott, University of MichiganRebecca J. Scott is a professor of history and professor of law at the University of Michigan. Her most recent book, Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation, coauthored with Jean M. Hébrard, traces one family across five generations and three continents, into slavery and then back into freedom. The American Historical Association conferred on Freedom Papers the 2012 Albert Beveridge Award and the James Rawley Prize. Prof. Scott collaborated on a special issue of the Law and History Review (November 2011) focused on law and slavery.
Brazil: History, Human Rights, and Contemporary Slavery Panel I
Brazil: History, Human Rights, and Contemporary Slavery Panel II
Connecting Thought and Action Across Borders: The Challenges of Contemporary Slavery
Law in Slavery and Freedom—Contemporary Slavery Website
Translating the America Series (featuring essays on slavery by Castro Gomes, Keila Grinberg, Jean M. Hébrard, and Rebecca Scott)
University of Michigan Law School Program in Race, Law & History
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