EIHS Lecture: "Jesus v. Jesus: Legitimacy Law, Patronage Networks, and the Transfer of Wealth in a Nineteenth-Century African-Bahian Family"
University of Michigan
Abstract: This talk analyzes a legitimation petition initiated in 1890 in Bahia, Brazil, which led to a protracted lawsuit between the petitioner and the named heir to her grandfather’s estate. The illegitimate granddaughter lost the suit because her grandfather had written a will that he hoped would maintain the webs of patronage and reciprocal obligation on which his stature had rested during his life. The document offers a glimpse of the multi-tiered social world that African former slaves and their descendants built on the outskirts of nineteenth-century Bahia, demonstrating that extended family and patrimony was as important to this sector as it was to the white planter class.
Sueann Caulfield is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She specializes in the history of modern Brazil, with emphasis on gender and sexuality. Her publications include In Defense of Honor: Morality, Modernity, And Nation In Early Twentieth-Century Brazil and the co-edited volume Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin American History. She has also published various articles on gender and historiography, family law, race, and sexuality in Brazil, including most recently, “The Right to a Father's Name: State Efforts to Erase the Stigma of Illegitimacy in Twenty-First-Century Brazil” in Law and History Review. Her current research focuses on family history with a focus on paternity and legitimacy in twentieth-century Brazil.
Free and open to the public.
This lecture is part of the Thursday Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.