March 2016 – Domestic slavery workshop in Paris

“Domestic Slavery”, 15th-19th Centuries. Sources, Cross-Perspectives, and Definitions

Paris, March 24-25, 2016 – Collège de France – 52 rue du Cardinal Lemoine Paris 5 / Room 3 (Claude Lévi-Strauss)

Funded by Paris Nouveau Mundi –

  • Coordinator: Alessandro Stanziani (EHESS)
  • Organizer: Claude Chevaleyre (EHESS) –


[English] This workshop proposes to discuss the definitions of slavery and bondage by shifting the focal point from “genuine” slavery to “domestic” (i.e. “internal”) forms of bondage. Following the paths opened up by previous scholarship, it proposes to consider slavery less as a uniform condition, a status or a system, than as a multiform relationship, the analysis of which must be replaced within specific social contexts. Participants will present particular forms of institutionalized domestic bondage from various geographic areas during the modern period. In the global perspective of this comparative workshop, presentations will focus on highlighting criteria essential to the characterization of “slavery” (or bondage) in particular social and historical contexts, through an exploration of both normative constructions and concrete practices.

[Français] Ce workshop se propose de discuter les définitions de l’esclavage et de la servitude à partir des formes d’esclavage « interne » (ou endogène). S’appuyant sur les voies ouvertes par l’historiographie récente, il entend considérer l’esclavage moins comme une condition unique, un statut ou un système, que comme une relation multiforme dont l’analyse se doit d’être replacée dans un contexte spécifique. Les participants sont ainsi invités à présenter des formes de servitude domestique institutionnalisées dans diverses aires géographiques à l’époque moderne et à mettre en lumière les critères essentiels caractérisant ces formes de servitude à travers un examen à la fois des constructions normatives et des pratiques concrètes.

Scientific Committee: Odile Journet (EPHE), Lionel Kesztenbaum (INED), Catarina Madeira Santos (EHESS, IMAF), Karine Marazyan (Paris 1), Alessandro Stanziani (EHESS, CNRS – coordinator), Thomas Vernet (Paris 1), Claude Chevaleyre (EHESS).

In order to enable a wide participation of each speaker, the working language of this workshop is English


MARCH 24, 2016


MALLINCKRODT, Rebekka (University of Bremen). Servants, Slaves or Serfs? – German Courts and Administrations Confronted with Trafficked Persons in the long 18th Century

BISCHOFF, Jeannine (University of Bonn). Should Tibetan Dependent Peasants be Called Domestic Slaves? A Gathering of Thoughts and Ideas Based on Legal Documents

Coffee break (10:50-11:10)

ZDANOWSKI, Jerzy (Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University). Grasping a Slave Identity. Voices of Slaves from the Persian Gulf at the Turn of 20th Century

VAN ROSSUM, Matthias (IISH, Amsterdam). Dynamics of household slavery in Batavia – work, mobility and control

Lunch pause (12:30)


BOYER-ROSSOL, Klara. Le développement de l’esclavage interne aux sociétés sakalava de l’Ouest de Madagascar durant la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle

THIÉBAUT, Rafaël (Paris I/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Capture and Release: Domestic Slavery on Madagascar as seen through the Court Case of the Nouvelle Julie in 1764

Coffee break (15:20-15:40)

FAUQUEZ, Anne-Claire (Paris II-Panthéon-Assas). Domestic Slavery in 17th Century New York: A more Lenient Type of Servitude?

MUAZE, Mariana (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State). Inside the Big Houses: Domestic Slavery in Comparative Perspective. Paraíba Valley and Mississippi Valley (1820-1860)

MARCH 25, 2016


KADRIC, Sanja (The Ohio State University). Domestic Slavery in the Ottoman Imperial Household

OUALDI, M’hamed (Princeton University). How should we Define Mamluks? The Production of a Social Category of Slaves and Servants in Ottoman Tunisia (18th-mid 19th century)

Coffee break (10:50-11:10)

ÖZKORAY, Hayri Gökşin (EPHE). Conceptual and Methodological Problems posed by the Study of Ottoman “Slaveries”

WHITE, Joshua (University of Virginia). “Of Free Origin”: Freedom Suits and Domestic Slavery in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire

Lunch pause (12:30-13:30)


BRIVIO, Alessandra (University Milano-Bicocca). Nineteenth’s Century Domestic Slavery in the Gold Coast

GORDON, David (Bowdoin College). Slavery and Redemption in the Catholic Missions of the Upper Congo, 1878-1906

RODET, Marie (SOAS). Resistance, Rebellion and Slavery in West Africa: The Trajectory of Tirailleur Mansouka in Nineteenth-Century Western Sudan

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