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Lecture | Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminar (LIMS)

Illegality and Immobility in the 19th-century Americas

  • Viola Müller
Monday 16 November 2020
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2020-2021
Via: https://smart.newrow.com/room/?qjg-259&fr=lti

LIMS talk by Dr. Viola Müller (Utrecht University, History), entitled 'Illegality and Immobility in the 19th-century Americas'.


The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics.


This research aims to show that illegal labor and immobility were integral to the development of so-called “free” labor markets in the leading economic metropoles of the Americas. Studying people of African descent in Richmond (Virginia), Havana, and Rio de Janeiro will show that slavery as an institution had the power to impose on black people a legal status that we can best understand by applying the concept of illegality. Lacking documentation and registration, many black workers in the nineteenth century were severely immobilized physically and socially, which bound them to the commercial and industrializing cities and, essentially, played out as a mechanism of coercion.  

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