Africa is usually absent from Global Legal History debates. Working on local archives, with locally produced sources such as court cases, can be a method to overcome this blind spot. Court cases are very privileged historical sources since they show the actual engagement of the local population in disputing the concrete meanings of legal norms and legal categories. They also allow us to understand better the interaction of different normative systems that shaped law and the resolution of conflicts in colonial societies. Court cases abound in Lusophone Africa archives. However, despite the richness of their collections, the documents are often unorganized and unidentified, making it very difficult for the academic community to use them. This workshop addresses the methodological challenges and historiographical opportunities of working with processes held in African archives.
Thursday, 25 May 2023
14.00 Welcome and Introduction
14.30 Section 1
Mariana Armond Dias Paes (Frankfurt am Main) Court Cases and Legal Pluralism in Portuguese Colonial Africa
Luíz Cabral de Oliveira (Lisbon) Law in Books vs Law in Action: Félix Correia de Araújo, a Remarkable Angolan Judge in the Late 18th Century
16.00 Coffee break
16.30 Section 2
João Figueiredo (Münster) The Records of “Trials of Gentilic Cases” in the National Archive of Angola (AHA)
Cristina Nogueira da Silva (Lisbon) Colonial Justice in Mozambique (1915-1954): Preserving and Changing Indigenous Customary Law
Friday, 26 May 2023
Benedetta Rossi (London) Rethinking the Abolition of Slavery in Africa’s Legal History
12.00 Lunch in the Kolleg
13.00 Section 3
Esteban Salas (London) Freedom and Portuguese Legal Anxieties in Benguela at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century
Matheus Pereira (Lisbon) Legal Processes of Assimilation from below: African Experiences in Mozambique during Portuguese Colonial Exploitation (c. 1900-1960)
14.40 Coffee break
15.00 Section 4
Fernanda Thomaz (Juiz de Fora, Brazil) Power, Discourse and Matrimonial Conflicts in the Production of Court Cases in Northern Mozambique (1930-1950)
Sophie Kotanyi (Berlin) Contemporary Audio-Visual Archive of Palaver and Treating a Case of Involuntary Kindoki ‘Witchcraft’ by Neutralizing it
16.30 Final Remarks
17.00 Farewell and Outlook
Source: Court Cases in African Archives.
In: H-Soz-Kult, 13.03.2023, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-134635>.