HKIHSS Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar (Nov 22): Stuart M. McManus - 1619: The Iberian and Global Origins of Anglo-American Slavery

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Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar [via Zoom] 

1619: The Iberian and Global Origins of Anglo-American Slavery

Dr. Stuart M. McManus
Department of History
The Chinese University of Hong Kong 
Date & Time:  22 November 2022 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm (HK Time) 
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This talk will place the famous 1619 voyage to Virginia within the context of the larger Iberian (i.e. Spanish and Portuguese) world slave system of which it was essentially an extension. Indeed, one consequence of Iberian expansion from the fifteenth century onwards was that many of the already highly integrated regional markets in human beings of the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia and the Americas became loosely conjoined for the first time, creating an uneven and fragile, but nonetheless identifiable world market. This stretched across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean, and linked the Iberian Peninsula to Africa and Asia through a network of port cities, such as Luanda, Mozambique, Goa, Malacca, Macau and Nagasaki. There, the trade crisscrossed cultural spheres with subtly different conceptions of “slavery” and “freedom” as both legal categories and lived experiences. These were, however, ultimately made commensurable in the act of buying and selling slaves (“the commensurability of commerce”). In this way, the project will show that while racialized slavery in North America took on a particular form, there were also parallels, overlaps and direct connections with slavery in large parts of the early modern world.

About the Speaker
Stuart M. McManus is a humanist and legal historian working on law, slavery and empire in world history from a global and multi-ethnic perspective. He also has interests in the history of classical scholarship and Chinese humanities. He received his Ph.D. in history (secondary field in classical philology) from Harvard University, where he also studied civil law. Prior to coming to CUHK, he taught Mexican and ancient Mediterranean history for two years at the University of Chicago, where he was the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge. His book, entitled Empire of Eloquence, on the global history of renaissance humanism (based on primary research in 13 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021, and he is beginning work on a second book on the global legal background of the famous 1619 slave voyage to Virginia. In 2019, Professor McManus was on leave at Princeton University’s Davis Center for Historical Studies as part of the Center’s “Law & Legalities” theme, and in 2021 he was a visiting fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.

About the Series 
This series aims to introduce a wide range of cutting-edge research in various disciplines and areas.  

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