Monthly Archives: October 2019

Announcing “Forced Relocations: Conceptualizations, Cases and Data” workshop in Bonn May 2020

Call for applications:

The renewed attention of the past decades for the many faces of coercion, in the form of slavery, serfdom and other forms of bondage, urges scholars to reconsider not only the divisions and comparisons, but also the connections and interactions between these forms. Various current initiatives are devoted to improving our understanding of different forms of coercion, either in the wider perspective in the form of strong asymmetrical dependencies (e.g. the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies) or in the form of coerced labour (e.g. the global labour history programme of the IISH).

This renewed perspective has shifted away from analysing slavery as an institution towards slaving as an historical practice. Scholarship focusing on the world outside the Atlantic has brought to light the various forms of slavery, as well as the sometimes extensive slave trade, in the Mediterranean, the Western Indian Ocean world, South- and Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. Besides the widespread occurrence of commodified slavery, and the impetus of the slave trade which fed into this, many new studies also underline the simultaneous existence and interaction with all kinds of non-commodified forms of bondage in many regions across the globe, most importantly corvée, caste- and debt-based slavery.

This workshop foregrounds the question of how to deal with forced relocations, acknowledging slave trade as only one of its many historical manifestations – that ranged from commodified trade in enslaved people to the different forms of exchange of bonded people, including tribute, abduction, kidnapping, repopulation, warfare and other kind of forced movements.

The workshop is part of the project Exploring Slave Trade in Asia – a collaboration that aims to create the basis for a slave trade database initiative by

a) collecting and curating existing datasets,
b) identifying source material for future data creation, and
c) creating an initial data infrastructure for a collaborative database documenting slave trade and forced relocations in Asia, from the Indian Ocean and Indonesian archipelago worlds, to the South China seas and East and Central Asia.

We therefore invite contributions that explore the phenomenon of forced relocation by one (or multiple) of the following angles:

Conceptualizing forms of forced relocations;
Studying historical case studies of forced relocations in comparative ways;
Studying or conceptualizing the relation between (forms of) forced relocation and regimes of coerced labour or extreme asymmetrical dependencies;
Exploring and analysing sources for data creation on forced relocations;
Reflecting on the implications of any of these topics on conceptualizing and creating a suitable data infrastructure.
Reactions can be sent to assistance[at] until 31 December 2019.

Abstracts (roughly 200 words) should describe the proposed paper (including topic, method, possible sources and data).

The expert workshop will take place on 11 and 12 May 2020, at the Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies in Bonn.

The project Exploring Slave Trade in Asia is a collaboration by the International Institute of Social History, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, Linnaeus University and ENS Lyon. More information here.

WORcK COST Action website online

The Cost action for 2019-2023 has officially started. Join our working group on “Grammars of dependency”, which I am glad to lead with Branimir Brgles (Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics). We will try to expand from the original idea of our colleague Juliane Schiel (Vienna University.

It collects and compares words, expressions and phrases across time and space for at least three moments of coercion: The working group “Grammars of Dependency” takes inventory of the variety of words, expressions and phrases historical actors themselves used in specific times, places and contexts to articulate social dependencies and work relations. It collects and compares words, expressions and phrases across time and space for at least three moments of coercion:
– recruitment into a work relation;
– use and exploitation of a workforce;
– termination of a work relation.
By detecting and explaining the social meanings and taxonomical orders behind those words, WG1 challenges the field’s reliance on the analytical language of the modern West. It makes it possible to see the words used to name labour relations and conditions of dependency as fields of conflict among historical agents. In other words, it treats the naming of certain status or labour relation as a contested act of power

More information here:

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