Michelle A. McKinley, LAPA Fellow; University of Oregon Law School

To Have and to Hold [Onto]: Domestic Slaveholding, Race, and Intimacy in Colonial Lima

Mon, 04/13/2015
301 Marx Hall
Event Category: 

Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with Michelle A. McKinleyAssociate Professor of Law at University of Oregon Law School.  The commentator is Hendrik A. Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty, Professor of History and Director of the Program in American Studies. 

LAPA’s seminar format assumes that seminar participants have familiarized themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator opens the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.

From Professor McKinley:  ““To have and to Hold [Onto]: Domestic Slavery, Race and Intimacy in Colonial Lima” is the third chapter of my manuscript. “To have and to hold [onto]” probes into affective relationships between owners and slaves that were not based exclusively on sexual intimacy. The intimate presence of slaves in the household fostered relationships of co-dependency and racial hierarchy. These relationships normalized, tolerated and promoted inequality, sexual predation, and sensuality to the extent that it was impossible to imagine life without domestic servitude and the embodied presence of slaves within the household. The embodied slave presence was at once reviled and desired, creating a perverse dependency in its wake. Drawing on the growing historical literature of emotions, “To Have and to Hold” examines cases of non-sexual intimacy to explore affective relationships between owners and their domestic slaves that resulted in contingent liberty. The cases allege racial fraud and status concealment, enabling us to explore the complex relationship between whiteness and freedom in a society with both significant numbers of freed people of color and those coded as “white/español”, given their indeterminate phenotype and uncertain parentage but who remained enslaved."

Michelle A. McKinley is Associate Professor of Law at University of Oregon Law School. She teaches Law, Culture & Society, Immigration Law, Public International Law, International Criminal Law, and Refugee & Asylum Law. Professor McKinley attended Harvard Law School, and graduate school at Oxford University. Professor McKinley is the former Managing Director of Cultural Survival, an advocacy and research organization dedicated to indigenous peoples. She is also the founder, and former director, of the Amazonian Peoples' Resources Initiative, a community based reproductive rights organization in Peru, where she worked for nine years as an advocate for global health and human rights. Professor McKinley has published extensively on international law, human rights, reproductive rights, globalization, and legal history, particularly the law of slavery.  She has been awarded fellowships for her research from the ACLS, NEH, NSF, American Philosophical Society, and the Newberry Library.  As a LAPA Fellow she will be completing a manuscript on “Fractional Freedoms” for publication by Cambridge University Press as part of its Studies in Legal History.

Hendrik Hartog is the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty and the director of Princeton University’s Program in American Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Brandeis University (1982), a J.D. from the New York University School of Law (1973), and an A.B. from Carleton College (1970). Before coming to Princeton, he taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School (1982-92) and at the Indiana University (Bloomington) School of Law (1977-82). Hartog has spent his scholarly life working in the social history of American law, obsessed with the difficulties and opportunities that come with studying how broad political and cultural themes have been expressed in ordinary legal conflicts. He has worked in a variety of areas of American legal history: on the history of city life, on the history of constitutional rights claims, on the history of marriage, and on the historiography of legal change. He is the author of Public Property and Private Power: the Corporation of the City of New York in American Law, 1730-1870 (1983), Man and Wife in America: a History (2000), and Someday All This Will Be Yours: A History of Inheritance and Old Age (2012). He is the editor of Law in the American Revolution and the Revolution in the Law (1981) and the coeditor of Law in Culture and Culture in Law (2000) and American Public Life and the Historical Imagination (2003). He has been awarded a variety of national fellowships and lectureships, and for a decade he coedited Studies in Legal History, the book series of the American Society for Legal History.