Friday, January 27
Of Coercion and Accommodation: Looking at Japanese American Imprisonment through a Law Office Window
Professor Eric Muller, Moore Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina Law School
*Note: this event will begin at 3:30 pm, with refreshments available at 3:15 pm.
Eric L. Muller is the Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He holds an A.B. from Brown University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. In addition to many articles about the wartime imprisonment of Japanese Americans in the United States, he has published three books on the subject: “Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II” (University of Chicago Press 2001); “American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II” (University of North Carolina Press 2007); and “Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II” (University of North Carolina Press 2012).
Crucial to the implementation of the War Relocation Authority’s (WRA) regulations of its detention camps for the uprooted Japanese American community of the West Coast were the WRA “project attorneys,” white lawyers stationed in the camps who gave legal advice to administrators and internees alike. These lawyers left behind a voluminous correspondence that opens a new window on the WRA’s relationship with its prisoners, a relationship heretofore understood as encompassing coercion on one side and either compliance or resistance on the other. This paper uses the voluminous correspondence of the project attorney at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming as a new lens for viewing the regulatory relationship between the WRA and the imprisoned community. It focuses on three of the many matters about which the project attorney gave advice: the design of the camp’s community government, its criminal justice system, and its business enterprises. Evidence from this one law office suggests that on many key issues, the relationship between the WRA and the internees was marked not so much by coercion as by reciprocal accommodation, with each taking account of some of the preferences of the other. While the data are from just one of the ten WRA camps, they suggest a need to reconsider our understanding of how this American system of racial imprisonment operated.
Thursday, February 16
“The Jesuits, the Souls of Slaves, and the Battle for Saint-Domingue, 1720-1730”
Professor Malick Ghachem, MIT History Department
Abstract: The story of the Society of Jesus in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) begins in the early years of the eighteenth century, when the French monarchy expelled the resident Capuchin friars and invited the Jesuit order to take their place. The remarkable priests who served during these years laid the foundations of the Catholic Church in Haiti, attending to the spiritual needs of a nascent French planter community while also organizing parishes and building the main cathedral in Cap Français. The work of carving out an Ignatian space in this emerging crucible of eighteenth-century Atlantic capitalism unfolded against the backdrop of a near-total breakdown of political order in the colony during the early 1720s. As local creoles mounted a dramatic rebellion against the slave trading monopoly of the French Indies Company in Saint-Domingue, the Jesuits found themselves drawn into some unexpected realms of secular and spiritual effort alike: the writing of Haiti’s first histories and the proselytization of its rapidly expanding and already resistant community of slaves. How the Ignatians carried out these two missions tells us much about both the Jesuit order itself and the circumstances of Haiti’s sudden rise as the most profitable plantation colony in the world by the third decade of the eighteenth century.
Biography: Malick W. Ghachem is a historian and lawyer. His primary areas of concentration are slavery and abolition, criminal law, and constitutional history. He is the author of The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2012), a history of the law of slavery in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) between 1685 and 1804. The book received the American Historical Association’s J. Russell Major Prize for the best work in English on French history and was co-winner of the Caribbean Studies Association’s Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Prize for the best book published in the field of Caribbean studies over the past three years. He teaches courses on the Age of Revolution, Slavery and Abolition, American criminal justice, and other topics.
Professor Ghachem earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University and his doctorate in history from Stanford. He clerked for the Honorable Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Miami, FL in 2004. A member of the Massachusetts bar, Professor Ghachem practiced law in Boston from 2005 to 2010 for two law firms: Zalkind, Rodriguez, Lunt & Duncan LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. For part of that period (2006-2007) he served as a lecturer in MIT’s Political Science Department. Between 2010 and 2013, he taught at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, ME, where he is now a Senior Scholar.