Friday, May 18, 2012

McKinley Receives ACLS Fellowship

Michelle McKinley, University of Oregon School of Law, has recently been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for July 2012-May 2013.  It will support research and writing on her book-in-progress, “Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism and Ecclesiastical Courts, 1589-1700,” which examines “the legal agency of slaves — particularly enslaved women — in Peruvian ecclesiastical and civil courts during the 17th century.”  The ACLS’s website explains:
How 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 enslaved women to demand liberty and justice in a judicial forum? This project focuses primarily on enslaved women as legal actors within the landscape of Hispanic urban slavery: women who were socially disfavored, economically active (at times modestly prosperous), and extremely litigious. A retrospective look at their freedom suits tells us how litigants strategically exploited the rhetorical power of liberty through recourse to the law, though their lived realities were decidedly unfree and unequal.
Professor McKinley received the ASLH's Surrency Prize for an article on this topic.