This essay provides an overview of Colin Dayan's work that attends, specifically, to her representations of slave law in Haiti, History, and the Gods and The Law Is a White Dog. It takes as its point of departure Dayan's indictment in the final chapter of Haiti, History, and the Gods of the infamous Code Noir and her equally blistering account of a well-known instance of settler violence, that of the planter Nicolas Lejeune, whose prosecution for torture in 1788 has recently been examined from a decidedly more sanguine perspective by legal historian Malick Ghachem. Contrasting Dayan and Ghachem's very different representations of the Code Noir and the Lejeune case helps illuminate the (ever more visibly) political stakes of Dayan's long-standing critique of the conversional logic through which both the slavery of old and the penal incarceration of today have “turned humans into things, beasts, or mongrels.”

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