Nancy E. van Deusen is Professor of History at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She is the author of
Into the Courtroom
This chapter considers the bureaucratic and legal culture of the courtroom, including what constituted evidence. It argues that the power vested in the presentation of documents, including brands on faces and bodies, and the testimonies of expert witnesses resulted in the creation of legal indios. In such a locus of enunciation, slave litigants found themselves in an exceptional position to be able, in a mediated fashion, to frame their histories and identities as juridical subjects. Lawyers, in turn, used their clients’ depositions and documents as the raw material with which to mold legal arguments.