Program for Voices in the Legal Archives in the French Atlantic/Empire:

Voix des archives judiciaires dans l’atlantique/empire français



Co-organizers : Nancy Christie (University of Western Ontario); Michael Gauvreau (McMaster University), Clare Crowston (University of Illinois, Urbana)


May 28-30, 2018

le 28-30 mai 2018


North Hatley Québec,

Manoir Hovey


Monday, May 28


4:00 p.m.: Pick-up at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Montreal, 4 p.m.


6:00-6:30 p.m.: Registration, Tap Room


6:30-9:30 p.m.: Dinner at Manoir Hovey, Le Hatley Restaurant






May 29, 2018


8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Breakfast, Dining Room


Registration 8:30-9:00 a.m. Tap Room



N.B. All sessions will be held in Abenaki Hall









 8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m:  Welcome and Opening Remarks


9:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m.: Session 1 – Women, the Economy and the Law



Chair: Cornelia Dayton (University of Connecticut)

Laurie Wood (Florida State University)

“’It’s not easy to get paid in this country’: women in the courts of Martinique”


Dominique Deslandres (Université de Montréal)

“Les Catins de Montréal ou le genre au Tribunals du Roi aux XVIIIe siècle”


Nancy Christie (University of Western Ontario)

“Contested Spaces of Law and Economy:  Legal Hybridity and the Marital Economy within Quebec’s Merchant Communities”



10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Coffee break


10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Session 2 – Rethinking the Agency of Racialized Peoples


Chair: Jean-Pierre LeGlaunec (Université de Sherbrooke)

Eric Wenzel (Université d’Avignon)

“The Voice of the Litigant, the Voice of the Spokesman? The role of Interpreters in Trials in Canada under the French Regime, 17th to 18th Centuries”

Sophie White (University of Notre Dame)

“Voices of Native Women in the French Colonial Justice System

Jennifer Palmer (University of Georgia)

“‘She persisted in her revolt’:  Between Slavery and Freedom in Saint-Domingue

Eric De Mari (Université de Montpellier)

“Voix de kanaks, voix de bagnards: d’un océan à l’autre (Nouvelle-Calédonie, Guyane française)





Lunch 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Tap Room



1:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m.:  Sovereignty and Property in the French Atlantic


Chair: Clare Crowston (University of Illinois-Urbana)

Matthew Gerber (University of Colorado, Boulder)

“Between Personal Property and Real Estate: The Ambiguous Status of Slaves in the Early Modern French Atlantic”

Heather Freund (University of Illinois – Urbana)

“Legal Pluralism and Inheritance on Grenada after the Seven Years’ War”

Sue Peabody (Washington State University)

“Slaves as Witnesses, Slaves as Evidence: French and British Prosecution of the Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean”






3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Coffee Break


3:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.: Session 4: Litigating Whiteness in Saint-Domingue


Chair: David Gilles (Université de Sherbrooke)

Meredith Gaffield (Johns Hopkins University)

“Work, Whiteness, and Legal Practices in Pre-Revolutionary St. Domingue”


Paul Cheney (University of Chicago)

“Noble Pride and Creole Gold: Elite Conflict in Eighteenth-Century St. Domingue”


Marie Houllemare (Université de Picardie – Jules Verne)

“Troubled Minds:  Interrogations of Mad People before their Legal Interdiction, Saint-Domingue, 18th Century”.





5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.: Wine and Cheese Reception, Tap Room

Sponsored by the Omonhudro Institute of Early American History and Culture


6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.: Dinner, Restaurant Le Hatley




May 30, 2018


8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m: Breakfast, Dining Room


9:00 a.m-10:30 a.m.: Session 5 – The Many Legalities of Servitude


Chair: Ollivier Hubert (Université de Montréal)

Malick Ghachem (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

“Controlling Haitian History: The Legal Arsenal of Moreau de Saint-Méry”


Arnaud Bessière (Université Laurentienne)

“Les domestiques face aux édiles au Canada sous le régime français : une justice conciliatrice? “


Clare Crowston (University of Illinois – Urbana)

“A French apprenticeship system? Debating the End of Slavery in the French Empire”


10:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m: Coffee Break



10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.:   Session 6 – Peasant Voices in Legal Archives


Chair: Catherine Desbarats (McGill University)


Emily Rap (University of Chicago)

“Contesting the Seigneurial Corvée: Two Generations of Peasant Litigation in Eighteenth-Century Angoumois”


Ollivier Hubert (Université de Montréal)

“Entendre les Mots d’une philosophie morale vernaculaire : justice d’Ancien Régime et culture de l’honneur à Montréal au XVIIIe Siècle,”


Michael Gauvreau (McMaster University)

“The inhabitants ‘appear are not such fools as a menny thinks’:  Credit, Debt and Peasant Litigation in Post-Conquest Quebec”


12:15 p.m.-1:00 p.m.: Buffet Lunch, Abenaki Hall


1:15 p.m.:  Limousine Departure for Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport