Friday, April 13, 2006, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Defining and Controlling Labor in the Post-Revolutionary Slave South
Laura Edwards, Duke University
Commentators: Bruce Levine, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and Dan Graff, University of Notre Dame
“Wasted Substance: The Variability of Patriarchy” is the fifth chapter from my book project The People and Their Peace: The Reconstitution of Governance in the Post-Revolutionary South. In the context of the book’s argument, this chapter focuses on the dynamics of patriarchal authority in local legal proceedings—a crucial, but historiographically neglected level of the legal system that dealt with most criminal cases and other public legal issues (as opposed to private or civil matters). Questions about labor are central to the analysis. Localized law reveals a very different economy of labor than what appears in statutes, appellate records, and the other sources on which historians have relied. Specifically, southerners did not always apply conceptions of property ownership operative on the civil side of the system to legal questions involving labor. This chapter explores those dynamics, reconstructing ordinary southerners’ views of the value and purpose of labor and exploring the implications for the exercise of authority in southern society.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Jenny Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312-255-3524. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Labor History
Co-sponsored by the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University and the Labor and Working Class History Association
The Newberry Library
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for
Family and Community History
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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