Petitions for Freedom: Exploring the Missive Arts in Imperial Brazil

Sunday, January 8, 2012: 8:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom A (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Peter M. Beattie, Michigan State University
This paper will examine aspects of the art of petitioning for freedom in imperial Brazil for two dishonored social categories: slaves and convicts. By approaching these documents as a formal genre of official literature, I will attempt to trace important conventions that characterized these appeals and examine how they changed or remained the same over time. I will also consider the composite authorship of these documents as they represented collaboration between mostly illiterate supplicants who orally represented their history and the scriveners who translated them into formal petitions.
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