InJustice :: University of Michigan

The University of Michigan events for 2006-2007 focus on the topic injustice. Activities included a public lecture by Rachel Sarah O'Toole, entitled "(Un)Making the Archive: Indian Vassals, African Slaves, and Web-Based Tools" and a distributed curricular and research initiative on The Law in Slavery & Freedom Project. That project is a distributed curricular and research initiative which Michigan has developed in collaboration with The Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France, the University of Cologne, Germany, the University of Campinas, Brazil, and the Centro Juan Marinello in Cuba. Students from these institutions may participate in internet courses taught by faculty from all sites and participate in online discussions of readings on the topic of law and slavery in the Atlantic world. The research agenda is set by faculty who work on slavery, law and emancipation in regions from the American South all the way down the Atlantic coast to Brazil, and conferences are mounted at various sites, the next major conference being Slavery, and Freedom in the Atlantic World: Statutes, Science and the Seas, co-sponsored by the University of Michigan and the University of Windsor and taking place in Spring 2006. Michigan has chosen to contribute to this global initiative because we see it as one that could only happen through online technologies. And because in the hands of this project these technologies provide a counterweight to an historical inequality in the production of knowledge, whereby knowledge often continues to be generated in the global north, while the global south, limited in resources and mired in neo-colonial attitudes, either waits for knowledge to passively trickle down or finds that the new knowledge it generates is not properly disseminated throughout the north. Important knowledge is being produced in the field of Salvery and the Law in places like Brazil and Cuba by scholarls from those regions. The Law and Slavery Project, coordinated by Professors Rebecca Scott and Martha Jones at the University of Michigan, Professor Michael Zeuske at the University of Cologne, Professor Jean Hbrard at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Professors Silvia Lara and Sidney Chalhoub at the University of Campinas, and Professor Marial Iglesias at the University of Havana, is an environment in which north and south, Europe and America, generate knowledge jointly and share it with both faculty and students. Asymmetrical lines of knowledge production and dissemination are thus circumvented thanks to the projects use of new technology, and the global south is recognized as an active and equal player. Globalized communication between faculty and students is likewise enhanced.


(Un)Making the Archive: Indian Vassals, African Slaves, and Web-Based Tools