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Michelle Ann McKinley
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)
Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Legal Activism, and Ecclesiastical Courts in Colonial Lima, 1593-1700

Fractional Freedoms examines the ways in which enslaved litigants engaged with the ecclesiastical courts in 17th-century colonial Lima to assert their conjugal rights, effect transfers of ownership, enforce contested claims of manumission, and accuse masters of corrupted virginity. The book also analyzes complaints alleging domestic violence, abandonment, destitution, and infidelity that were brought to the attention of church procurators by enslaved women. The cases studied include annulment petitions, with particular emphasis on the proceedings between mixed status (free and unfree) couples. Finally, the book uses accusations of concubinage and adultery, and crimes against public morality to explore the role of ecclesiastical courts in policing the boundaries of inter-ethnic relationships. The book assesses the legal arguments enlisted by enslaved litigants to prevail in court proceedings.

Project fields:
Law and Jurisprudence

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 12/31/2010