Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 October 2011
The four articles in this special issue experiment with an innovative set of questions and a variety of methods in order to push the analysis of slavery and the law into new territory. Their scope is broadly Atlantic, encompassing Suriname and Saint-Domingue/Haiti, New York and New Orleans, port cities and coffee plantations. Each essay deals with named individuals in complex circumstances, conveying their predicaments as fine-grained microhistories rather than as shocking anecdotes. Each author, moreover, demonstrates that the moments when law engaged slavery not only reflected but also influenced larger dynamics of sovereignty and jurisprudence.
3. For an astute examination of the question of potentially divided sovereignty as it emerged in civil suits for freedom in the Spanish colonies, see Premo, Bianca, “An Equity against the Law: Slave Rights and Creole Jurisprudence in Spanish America,” forthcoming in Slavery and AbolitionGoogle Scholar.
5. I am indebted to Ferrer, Ada for this formulation. See her essay, “Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic,” forthcoming in the American Historical ReviewGoogle Scholar.
7. On anthropological understandings, see the discussion in Davis, “Judges, Masters, Diviners.” For a recent discussion of the philosophical dimensions of the question, “What is law?” see Shapiro, Scott J., Legality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011)Google Scholar. On expanding the scope of the study of law and slavery, see Gross, Ariela, “Beyond Black and White: Cultural Approaches to Race and Slavery,” Columbia Law Review 101(2001): 640–90Google Scholar.
12. The text in question is Article 6, Chapter 1 of Decreto No. 151, April 11, 1842, reproduced in Section 33a, Part 2, of Collecção das Leis do Imperio do Brasil 5, 1842. The scholarship on illegal enslavement in Brazil has burgeoned in recent years, nourishing a political debate about impunity and state complicity in injustice. See, for example, Grinberg, Keila, “Re-escravização, Direito e Justiças no Brasil do Século XIX,” in Direitos e Justiça no Brasil: ensaios de história socialI, org. Lara, Silvia Hunold and Mendonça, Joseli Maria Nunes. (Campinas, Brazil: Editora Unicamp, Centro de Pesquisa em História Social da Cultura, 2006), 101–28Google Scholar; Sidney Chalhoub, “The Precariousness of Freedom,” unpublished essay, forthcoming, cited with permission; and Beatriz Gallotti Mamigonian, “O Estado Nacional e a Instabilidade da Propriedade Escrava: A Lei de 1831 e a Matrícula dos Escravos de 1872,” forthcoming in Almanack Braziliense http://www.almanack.usp.br/en/apresenta/index.asp?numero=11 On the potential contemporary political implications, see the presentation before the Brazilian Supreme Court by historian Luis Felipe de Alencastro in 2010, published under the title “O Pecado Original da Sociedade e da Ordem Jurídica Brasileiras,” Novos Estudos CEBRAP (São Paulo) 87 (2010) http://novosestudos.uol.com.br/acervo/acervo_artigo.asp?idMateria=1387