Year: Doctorate in JSP
Comparative Law, Legal History, Legal Profession, Property Law, SlaveryBiography:
Alexandra Havrylyshyn is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Robbins Collection in Religious and Civil Law.
She holds a doctorate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (University of California, Berkeley) as well as a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (2018). Her research lies at the intersection of race, gender, and comparative legal history. She is currently preparing a book manuscript based on her dissertation. Tentatively titled "Black Women, Free Soil Suits, and the Civil Law," it explores the significance of race and gender in the claims-making of enslaved people in civil law jurisdictions, through the lens of twenty women and girls who claimed liberty on the basis of the French free soil principle between 1835 and 1857.
Ph.D., Jurisprudence and Social Policy, UC Berkeley
J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law, 2018
M.A., History, McGill University, 2011
B.A., History and Political Science, McGill University, 2008
Recent literature demonstrates the surprising finding that within the legal system of the antebellum South, there were pathways to freedom for select individuals. Much research has focused on Missouri, a borderland between free and slave states, whence Dred Scott’s claim emerged. This project focuses not on borderlands but on the Deep South—in global context. Between 1847 and 1850, a flurry of freedom suits descended upon the First District Court of New Orleans. Women and girls were the main legal actors. As domestic servants, they had been taken to France—a country whose legal institutions did not uphold slavery. This socio-legal study examines how they developed a legal consciousness, how they accessed justice, and how race and gender mattered. Relying on archival research in sites spanning from California, to New Orleans, to France, it finds that the mixed civil/common law jurisdiction of Louisiana was distinct from the rest of the United States in ways that mattered for enslaved people, and that growing Anglicization of the legal system there shut off pathways to individual emancipation. These findings have implications for the fields of comparative law, legal history, and for social justice today.Academic Experiences:
"How a California Settler Unsettled the Proslavery Legislature of Antebellum Louisiana,” California Legal History (forthcoming, 2019).
“No Lawyers in New France?” Canada’s Legal Past: Looking Forward, Looking Back (forthcoming, University of Calgary Press).
"Troublesome Trials: How One Parisian Attorney Disrupted the Order of New France," preparing for final revision and resubmission to a Tier 1 peer-reviewed journal.
SELECT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS. For a full listing, please see my academic CV linked below.
"Practicing Law in a Lawyer-less Colony: The Curious Case of Jacques Nouette de le Poufellerie," Canada's Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History, Calgary, AB (2017)
"Invoking the Freedom of French Soil in Antebellum Louisiana: An Atlantic Archival Prospectus," Law and Society Association, New Orleans, LA (2016)
" 'We Contest Her Status for Her': Resisting the Legality of Slavery in the French Atlantic (1740)," Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, London, U.K. (2013)
Graduate Student Representative, Board of Directors, American Society for Legal History, 2017-2019
Student Director, Berkeley Law Mindfulness Group, 2017-2018
Instructor, UC Berkeley-Extension, Race, Gender, and Property Law, Fall 2018
Graduate Student Instructor (G.S.I.), UC Berkeley, Property and Liberty, 2016
G.S.I., UC Berkeley, Survey of U.S. Legal and Constitutional History, 2016
G.S.I., UC Berkeley, Comparative Perspectives on Norms and Legal Traditions, 2015
G.S.I., UC Berkeley, History and Practice of Human Rights, 2013, 2012
Tenants' Rights Workshop Volunteer, East Bay Community Law Center, 2017-18
East Bay Dreamer Clinic Volunteer, East Bay Community Law Center, 2017
International Parliamentary Fellow, German Bundestag, Berlin, 2010
Academic and Research Relations Intern, Embassy of Canada, Washington, D.C., 2009
Communications Agent for Community Service, Y des Femme (YWCA), Montréal, 2007
SELECTION. For a full listing, please see my academic CV linked below.
American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship, 2017-2018
Kenneth and Dorothy Hill Bancroft Library Study Award, 2017-2018
William Nelson Cromwell Fellowship for Early Career Scholars, 2016
Austin Sarat Award for Best Graduate Student Paper, 2013
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship, 2012-2015