Third Legal Histories of Empire Symposium with Saheed Aderinto, Thaïs Gendry and Stacey Hynd

Join us for the third Legal Histories of Empire symposium!

Our speakers:

Professor Saheed Aderinto,“Let Us Be Kind to Our Dumb Friends”: The Imperial Root of Animal Cruelty Laws in Colonial Nigeria

Animal cruelty legislations were rooted in the affirmation that the level of civilization of a people can be measured by how they treat lower creatures. It was also rooted in contradictory notions of rights and justice for all colonial subjects—humans and non-humans. In colonial courts, cases of animal cruelty expanded the domain of punishment, and gave uncommon agency to animals to receive “justice” for human contravention on their “rights.” The ideas of “rights” and “justice” for imperial animals, I argued, turned them into colonial subjects, whose lives and wellness must be protected from other colonial subjects, that is, humans.

Saheed Aderinto is Professor of African History at Western Carolina University. He has published 8 books, including Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa: The Human and Nonhuman Creatures of Nigeria (Ohio University Press, forthcoming 2021).

Dr Thaïs Gendry and Dr Stacey Hynd, Punishing Female Murderers in British and French Colonial African Territories, c.1920-40s

What drove colonial societies to prosecute, sentence and sometimes execute African women? Comparing court records across British and French territories in Africa shows divergent policing choices and law enforcement strategies, all-the-while highlighting striking similarities in their combination of gender and racial bias – that declared African women doubly irresponsible of their violent acts – which translated into a generous mercy policy. Yet, in all territories, the full severity of the law was unleashed onto women when their crime was understood to hold a specifically anti-modern component in the motive or the method (ritualistic or cannibalistic crimes, crimes against Christians). This presentation will explore the pendular movement between colonials’ benevolent mercy with regards to “unimportant” domestic female criminality, and extreme exemplary punishment against women in the name of the “civilizing mission”.

Thaïs Gendry recently completed her PhD on the use of death penalty in French West Africa. She is now working on a postdoctoral project that examines the discourses and policies surrounding death penalty across the French Empire (Caribbean, Indochina, French equatorial Africa). The ambition of this research is to illuminate both the shared foundation of colonial state violence and the specificities of its use in different colonial contexts. She is currently teaching colonial and African history at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and the Universidad de Quilmes.

Stacey Hynd completed her D.Phil in Modern History as an AHRC/Beit Research Scholar at the University of Oxford in 2008, with her thesis on capital punishment in British colonial Africa. She then lectured in African and World History at the University of Cambridge, before moving to Exeter where she is Senior Lecturer in African History and co-Director of the Centre for Imperial & Global History. She has published on murder, capital punishment, criminal justice, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, and forced labour in colonial history, focusing primarily on Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. Her current research projects focus on global and African histories of child soldiering, and histories of humanitarianism in Africa.

Register here via Eventbrite and check your time zone below for the event date and time.

Zoom information will be emailed to you 48 hours before the event begins.


Calgary @ noon, Thursday June 10, 2021

Raleigh, NC @ 2pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Buenos Aires @ 3 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

London @ 7 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Lagos @ 7 pm, Thursday June 10, 2021

Sydney @ 4 am, Friday June 11, 2021

Wellington @ 6am, Friday June 11, 2021

About anzlhswebsite

The Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society was formed in 1993. It is an interdisciplinary group of scholars who share an interest in the connections between law and history. The society grew out of the annual Law in History Conferences, which have been running since 1982. Members of the society include historians, lawyers, academics and others interested in the area. Most of the members live in Australia or New Zealand, but their areas of interest are not confined to the law in those places. The society is an incorporated association in New South Wales. Inc no. 1600224
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s