Captives, recruited, migrants: Empires and labor mobilization, 17th century to present days

Date: Sept. 30-Oct. 02 2015

Location: Collège de France, Salle Claude Lévi-Strauss

Presentation

This workshop starts from the hypothesis that warfare and labor are strongly connected in Empire building and their evolution, to start with the major importance of war captives in early modern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas and to proceed with the various forms of recruitment in land and maritime empires in all those areas. Captives as well as local peasants were soldiers, seamen, and often colonists as well.
Vice versa, like soldiers and seamen, since the seventeenth century, immigrants were under strong coercive, military-inspired rules and the word deserter and fugitive was applied to all this wide range of conditions. Soldiers and ordinary population took part to collective work leaded by the village, the state, private companies, landlords, together with recruited and soldiers.
Forms of forced recruitment are still important in the 19th century (the press system in Britain and its variations in the Empire, recruitments in Russia) and continue in the 20th century, in Europe during the wars, outside of Europe during and after colonization and decolonization up through nowadays children soldiers.
Again, the connection between forced recruitment and forced migration is important, but it takes a new departure in the twentieth century with massive displacement of populations in the Soviet Empire as well as in several Asian and African areas. The boundary between refugees-workers-recruited is fragile.

Program (pdf format)


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