The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

November 10 ARC Seminar: ‘Vulnerability and Modernity: Reinventing Coercion through Free Labor in the time of Abolition in Brazil



This presentation addresses the history of precarious labor through an in-depth study of nineteenth-century Brazil. Using notarial records and some particularly compelling court cases, I will show how the introduction of wage labor replaced slavery with new forms of supposedly free labor. Through close examinations of individual lives in slavery and freedom, this presentation will discuss both the coercive labor arrangements and how former slaves used these legal instruments to wrest themselves from the “debts” of slavery.