Brown Bag Biography: Hannah Manshel

September 23, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Mānoa Campus, Zoom

The Center for Biographical Research presents: “Spirit Beyond the Law: Radical Abolition from Olaudah Equiano to Colin Kaepernick” Hannah Manshel, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the International Cultural Studies Program, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, History, American Studies, and Political Science Thursday, September 23 at 12PM to 1:15PM (HST) on Zoom Zoom Meeting ID: 986 0181 8734 Password: 380847 Meeting link: This talk draws from the introduction to my manuscript in progress, Without the Law, which argues that Black and Indigenous people in America—from the 17th century to the present—have turned to spirituality, religion, and faith, broadly defined, as a way around the oppressive force of law. I will lay out some of the book's central premises: that American law's primary investment is the protection of private property; that because of this the US legal system defines freedom in terms of property ownership; and finally, that US law is rooted in Christian doctrine. I intersperse this argument with discussion of three Black abolitionist figures--Colin Kaepernick, Olaudah Equiano, and the fictional Baby Suggs from Toni Morrison's Beloved, each of whom repurpose Christianity to practice a kind of freedom unintelligible by law and unassimilable to property. These figures offer a historical throughline of Black abolitionist Christianity that has persisted from the 18th century up through the present. Hannah Manshel is an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her writing has appeared in Criticism, Early American Literature, Women & Performance, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, and Insurrect! Radical Thinking in Early American Studies. Her manuscript in progress, Without the Law, is about Black and Indigenous resistance to the legal structures that perpetuate slavery and settler colonialism.

Event Sponsor
Center for Biographical Research, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Zoë E. Sprott, (808) 956-3774,,

Share by email