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

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


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)

Ulbe Bosma & Nigel Worden on slave trade – EHESS, May 11th, 2015

The seminar of Aymard, Jean-Yves Grenier, Gilles Postel-Vinay, andAlessandro Stanziani (Critique de l’économie historique) will host two papers on African and Indian Ocean slave trade:

  • Ulbe Bosma (IISG Amsterdam): Shifting patterns of slave raiding and slave trade across Island Southeast Asia, 1600-1900.
  • Nigel Worden (University of Cap Town): Cap Town as an Indian Ocean Slave Port.

Venue: May 11th, room 1, 105 bd Raspail, 5 pm-8 pm.

[Call for papers] Captives, recruited, migrants: Empires and labor mobilization, 17th century to present days.

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

Paris, sept 30-oct. 02, 2015

This workshop starts from the hypothesis that warfare and labor are strongly connected in Empire building and their evolution, to begin with war captives in early modern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas and to continue 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 colonists at the same time.

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 were still important in the 19th century (the press system in Britain and its variations in the Empire, recruitments in Russia) and continued 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 supposedly 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 still is fragile.

Participants are not required to pay a fee, but they are supposed to have funds for their own trip and staying, in particular confirmed scholars. Special allocations are provided for some PHD students and post-docs.

Proposals made of a short cv and one page abstract have to be sent to: before may the 10th, 2015.

Answers by May the 20th.

The coordinator Alessandro Stanziani

Appel à Projets doctorants Travail Libre/forcé [deadline 15 Mai 2015]

Appel à projet : étudiants

Travail libre/travail forcé Contraintes locales et dynamiques globales. Afrique, Europe, Asie, du XVe siècle à nos jours

heSam Université a décidé de soutenir et de financer le programme de recherche NEXT « Travail libre / Travail forcé » pour la période 2014-2015. Le programme « Travail libre / Travail forcé » accorde notamment des aides pour des étudiants de seconde année de master et des doctorants travaillant sur ces thématiques et inscrits auprès d’un établissement de la Comue heSam. Le résumé et les axes principales du projet sont disponibles sur le site :

et plus particulièrement :

Deux types d’aide sont proposés :

Bourses d’accès au terrain : une aide d’un montant limité à 3 000 € destinée à permettre à un étudiant de master ou un doctorant de financer une mission, un séjour sur le terrain, dans une bibliothèque ou dans un centre d’archive. Les fonds engagés doivent être justifiés par l’activité de formation et/ou de recherche.

Contrat de fin de thèse : un contrat de travail d’une durée maximum de 3 mois et d’un montant ne pouvant pas dépasser 10 000 € permettant à un(e) doctorant(e) d’achever la rédaction de son doctorat dans des conditions favorables à une soutenance dans les trois mois après la fin du contrat de fin de thèse.

Les sujets de thèse doivent porter sur des questions concernant les tensions entre travail libre et travail forcé, du 16e siècle à nos jours, tels qu’ils sont présentés sur le site cité.

Les dossiers de candidature comportent les pièces suivantes :

Aides au terrain :

  • • Une lettre de l’étudiant
  • • Une lettre du directeur de thèse ou mémoire
  • • Un budget prévisionnel du projet de terrain
  • • Un projet de terrain détaillé et calendrier
  • • Le projet de thèse (présenté lors de la première inscription)
  • • Les justificatifs de revenus et de charges (avis d’imposition, dernière fiche de paie, quittance de loyer, charges particulières….)
  • • Un curriculum vitae
  • • Une copie de la carte d’étudiant.

Bourses de fin de thèse :

  • • Une lettre de l’étudiant
  • • Une lettre du directeur de thèse ou mémoire précisant l’état d’avancement de la thèse et le calendrier de soutenance prévu.
  • • Le projet de thèse (présenté lors de la première inscription)
  • • Au moins un chapitre déjà rédigé de la thèse.
  • • Articles éventuels déjà publiés ; textes présentés à des conférences et journées d’étude.
  • • Les justificatifs de revenus et de charges (avis d’imposition, dernière fiche de paie, quittance de loyer, charges particulières….)
  • • Un curriculum vitae
  • • Une copie de la carte d’étudiant.

Les candidatures sont à envoyer par courriel avant le 30 avril à : Résultats : 15 mai

Free/unfree Labour Workshop – June 2015


Program has been modified on April 22: Locations have changed

  • June 08-09 : Collège de France, 52, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (Paris 5)
  • June 10 : 96, bvd Raspail, Paris


Tensions between free and unfree labor cannot be resumed to the classical passages from feudalism

to capitalism in Europe, from slavery to freedom across the Atlantic. To the contrary, these tensions

concern all the world regions and on the very longue durée, well before the European expansion and

well after the French revolution and the abolitionist movement. Millions of bonded people in Africa,

India, South-East Asia and China, not to forget Latin America and the “West” itself testify to this


This workshop aims at discussing the tensions between labor and coercion since the 16th century to

present days in multiple, hierarchical spaces over Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Scholars

from different fields –historians, economists, sociologists-, NGOs and ILO representatives will take

part to the discussions.


June 8-10, 2015

EHESS room 015 (first floor, Building B) / “LE FRANCE”, 190-198 AV. DE FRANCE 75013 PARIS

Program (download full program in pdf)

June 8, 9:30-13:00

 Anne CONCHON [Paris 1] : La corvée au XVIIIe siècle : les formes de dépendance à l’œuvre dans la contrainte de travail. / Corvée in 18th century France: forms of dependance and labor constraints.

 Philippe MINARD [Paris 8-EHESS] : Relation salariale et subordination : le régime britannique Master & Servant (XVIIe-XIXe siècles). / Wage relationships and subordination : the Master and Servant regime in Britain (17th-19th centuries)

 Alessandro STANZIANI [CNRS-EHESS (CRH)] : Recrutement forcé des marins, France-Angleterre-Océan indien, XVIIIe-XIXe siècles. / Force recruitment of seamen, France-Britain-Indian Ocean, 18th-19th centuries

 Jérôme BOURDIEU [INRA-EHESS-PSE] et Lionel KESZTENBAUM [INED-PSE] : Dépendance au travail et développement du salariat durant la révolution industrielle. / Control of the workforce and the rise of wage-earners during the industrial revolution.

June 8, 14:00-17:30

 Thomas VERNET [Paris 1] : Esclaves et clients. Formes de la dépendance, mobilités et traites dans le monde swahili, 1500-1820. / Slaves and clients. Dependence, mobility and the slave trade in the Swahili world, 1500-1820.

 Catarina MADEIRA SANTOS [EHESS] : Le pawnship en Angola. Une approche de longue durée. / Pawnship in Angola: a long-term approach.

 Richard ROBERTS [Stanford University] : Changement économique et mobilisation du travail après l’abolition de l’esclavage au Soudan français, 1890-1930. / Economic Change and Labor Mobilization in the Aftermath of the End of Slavery in the French Soudan, 1890-1930.

 Babacar FALL [Université de Dakar] : Premiers grands travaux coloniaux et main-d’œuvre au Sénégal. Étude de cas : Le port de Dakar et le chemin de fer Dakar-Saint-Louis (1855 – 1885). / First colonial works and labor force in Senegal. Case study: the Dakar port and the railway Dakar-Saint-Louis, 1855-1885.

June 9, 9:30-13:00

 Céline FLORY [CNRS] : Mondes américains, « Recapturés », « rachetés », « engagés » : abolitions et « nouveaux » travailleurs africains en colonies. / Re-captured, “rachetés”, indentured: abolition and new African workers in the French colonies.

 Hideaki SUZUKI [School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagasaki University] Les logiques de la dépendance et de la protection dans le golfe Persique au début du XXe siècle. / Logics of bonding and protection in the early twentieth century Persian Gulf, early 20th Century.

 Kudakwashe MANGANGA [Department of History, University of Zimbabwe] : Debt and Bondage in Colonial Zimbabwe: the Role of the Rural White Petite Bourgeoisie and the Credit System (Chimbazo). / Dette et dépendance dans le Zimbabwe colonial: le rôle de la petite bourgeoise blanche rurale and le système de crédit (Chimbazo).

 Andreas ECKERT [Humboldt University] : Travail forcé et décolonisation en Afrique. / Forced labor and decolonization in Africa.

June 9, 14:00-17:30

 Denis COGNEAU [PSE-IRD] : L’économie politique de la conscription militaire en Afrique coloniale française. / The political economy of military conscription in French colonial Africa.

 Eveline BAUMANN [UMR 245 CESSMA (Université Paris Diderot – INALCO – IRD)] : De la normalité du travail vulnérable au Sénégal. / The normality of vulnerable work in Senegal.

 Karin MARAZYAN [Paris 1] : Child fostering in Senegal. / Le placement des enfants au Sénégal.

 Yuka TOMOMATSU [Tokyo University] : Meaning of labour: contextualizing savanna household economy in northern Ghana. / La signification du travail : contextualisation de l’économie du ménage dans la savane du Ghana du Nord.

June 10, 9:30-13:00

 Isabelle GUÉRIN [IRD-Cessma and French Institute of Pondicherry] : Le travail non libre à l’ère de la financiarisation. / Unfree labor in the financial era.

 Smita PREMCHANDER [Sampark, Bangalore] : Contracting and sub-contracting: how markets work to perpetuate indebtedness and bondage. / Contrat et sous-contrat : comment les marches pérennisent la dette et la dépendance.

 Harsh MANDER : Youth, Jobs and Dreams in contemporary India. Jeu/ nes, travail et rêves dans l’Inde contemporaines.

 Coen KOMPIER [ILO, Delhi] : Stubborn Debts and State Complicity. Bonded Labour in the Indian Ocean Rim for the past 15 Years / Persistance de la dette et complicités étatiques. Le travail forcé sur les rives de l’océan indien au cours des quinze dernières années.

June 10, 14:00-17:30

 Thomas CAYET [EHESS] : Le « travail forcé » à l’Organisation Internationale du Travail, une vision « en creux » d’un idéal de modernisation ? / Forced labor at the ILO, a vision of an ideal of modernization?

 Laura De LISI [EHESS] : Le travail des enfants en Côte d’Ivoire (1980-2000) : de fortes interactions avec le travail des femmes. / Child labor in Ivory Coast (1980-2000): strong interaction with women labor.

 Michaëlle DE COCK [ILO, Genève] : Forced labour today: the challenges of implementing solid research and data collection. / Le travail force aujourd’hui : les défis de la mise en place de recherches solides et de la
collecte de données.

 TABLE RONDE autour de Prabhu Mohapatra (Delhi University), Richard Roberts (Stanford) et Coen Kompier (ILO)

Two books on microcredit

  • La microfinance et ses dérives. Emanciper, exploiter ou discipliner ? Editions Demopolis, par Isabelle Guérin (IRD-Cessma, associée à l’Institut Français de Pondichéry et au Cermi)
  • La vraie révolution du microcrédit, Editions Odile Jacob, par Jean-Michel Servet (IHEID, associé au Cessma et au Cermi)

The two books will be presented at the Université populaire et citoyenne du CNAM, March 18, 2015, 6 pm.

Isabelle Guérin’s book will be presented at:
-Toulouse, on March 4, 6 pm at the Ombres Blanches bookstore (
– Nantes, March 17, 6 pm at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (

[Call for papers] Language, Land and Labour. 10th Madagascar Workshop

Language, Land and Labour / 10th Madagascar Workshop

21 May 2015 / Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC), McGill University

Call for Papers

The Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC), McGill will be hosting the 10th Madagascar Workshop on 21 May 2015 on the theme “Language, Land and Labour.” This interdisciplinary workshop brings together anthropologists, historians and other scholars who share an interest in Madagascar and its diaspora. The keynote speech will coincide with the opening presentation, on Madagascar, of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association Conference (AFLA) which runs from 21-24 May 2015.

Among the themes that might be considered are (but not excluded to):

  • Language, power and ideology in (pre-)colonial Madagascar
  • Discourses of land tenure, land degradation and forest use
  • Language of Slavery
  • Language of Religion / Spirit possession
  • Language and identity (gender/ age / ethnicity… )
  • Language and Colonialism
  • Language of Fady / Taboo in Labour and Land relations
  • Non-Austronesian influences on language in Madagascar
  • Labour regimes and land
  • Health, medicine and forest use
  • Power relations and language / land / labour

Those interested in participating should send a title and one-page abstract to the IOWC ( ) by 1 March 2015.

[Call for papers] Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c. 1650-1850

Call for Papers:

Runaways: Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c. 1650-1850

22-23 October 2015,

Amsterdam, International Institute of Social History Department of History, University of Pittsburgh

Early modern globalization depended on the mobility and work of millions of workers who were crucial to production, transport, protection, and warfare. Bound by contract, slavery or otherwise, most of the labour relations through which sailors, soldiers, craftsmen, convicts and slaves were mobilized and employed contained elements in which withdrawal from the labour relation was a punishable offence. Though the lives of the working people were ordained by powerful trading companies and state structures, these workers often tried to pursue their own social and economic interests. Walking away from work, often breaching contract or law, was a widespread phenomenon that had a crucial role in this early stage of globalization. ‘Desertion’ – as understood by authorities – was absence from work: a breach of a labor contract or an act of defiance. For this conference, we define desertion broadly (and is thus not limited to the military sphere) as ‘walking away from work where this was a punishable offence in labour relations underpinned by contracts, obligations or coercion’. It will compare different types of workers. The conference will also explicitly engage with perspectives ‘from below’. Walking away from work was perhaps the most common of all forms of quotidian acts of disobedience amongst the early modern workforce. The study of desertion provides information on the workers’ perception of economic opportunity, conditions of work, strategies of revolt and finally, how these practices among workers shaped the (much larger) history of empire and capitalism in the early modern period.

Desertion of workers thus provides an interesting perspective on early global connections. The mobility and boldness of deserting workers is not surprising. Throughout the world, a vast majority of them were often migrants. From this perspective, desertion can be related to the work place, labour conditions and workers strategies, but also to the opportunities offered by economic and political environments, varying from ‘open’ and ‘empty’ landscapes offering opportunities for settlement and freedom, to ‘urban’ and economically developed areas providing opportunities for (new) work, but also anonymity and shelter. This conference aims to investigate the phenomenon of desertion from a comparative and global (labour) history perspective. In an earlier meeting, some first lines of the history of desertion in the Dutch empire have been explored, comparing cases from Europe, the Atlantic and Asian realms.

This conference aims to broaden the perspective. Therefore, we invite (comparative) case-studies from different regions over the world in order test findings and to uncover new connections. We invite studies related to workers and communities from European and non-European histories. Examples of such cases could relate to:

– Desertion in the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and other empires
– Desertion in European, Asian or other armies
– Desertion from labour contracts in Europe, Asia and the America’s by contracted wage workers such as sailors, soldiers, maids, crafts men or others
– Escape from coerced labour services, such servants (Europe), herendiensten (Java) or oeliam services (Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka)
– Escape by convicts from work camps and prisons
– Escape by slaves from slave ships, plantations, households in the Atlantic and Asian world
– Escape by slaves, servants, sailors, and other workers in (West-)Africa
– Histories of maroon communities
– Individual desertions or mass desertions

The conference aims to bring together excellent and innovative scholars working on the history of labour and social history, but will also be open to economic and cultural historians who can provide interesting case studies and perspectives. Covering European, Atlantic and Asian environments, it encourages case studies that focus on one or multiple groups of workers engaged in the global economy. In doing so, this conference will trace and compare acts and patterns of desertion across empires, economic systems, regions and types of workers. In order to study desertion comparatively way, we encourage participants to focus on the common research theme. The aim of the conference is to investigate the patterns of desertion and mobility as both economic and political responses to the processes at play in the early modern worlds of work and globalization.

In order to engage with these patterns of desertion systematically, participants are invited to consider the impact of variables such as the labour relations involved; the definitions of ‘desertion’ for different types of work and workers by authorities, employers and workers; the quantitative evidence for the incidence of desertion (and where possible, to reconstruct ‘desertion rates’); general patterns of work and mobility; mechanisms of control; the economic and political interests at stake for authorities, employers and workers.

Abstracts of maximum 500 words, indicating the proposed topic, sources and research methods, can be sent to before 15 April 2015.

Titas Chakraborty, University of Pittsburgh
Jeannette Kamp, Leiden University
Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History
Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh
Matthias van Rossum, International Institute of Social History

IOW Speakers series, Winter 2015

Indian Ocean World Centre / Winter 2015 Speaker Series, Thursdays, 5:45-7:30pm

116 Peterson Hall, McGill University, 3460 McTavish Street, Montréal, Québec, H3A 0E6

Each talk is followed by a reception

15 January: Giancarlo Casale (Professor of History, McGill University), “The Eunuch’s Galleons: Cultural Exchange, Technology Transfer, and Warfare at Sea between the Early Modern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean World”

22 January: Rashed Chowdhury (IOWC Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University), “Miklouho-Maclay and the Maclay Coast of New Guinea”

29 January: Erin Bell (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Girls in Moral Danger: Juvenile Prostitution in Late Colonial Nairobi”

5 February: Peter Hynd (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Bureaucrats, Smugglers, Peons and Preachers – Regulating the Liquor Trade in Late Nineteenth Century India: Local Policy and Global Politics'”

12 February: Veysel Simsek (PhD Student in History, McMaster University / IOWC Research Assistant, McGill University), “Uneasy Friends in Calm Waters: Anglo-Ottoman competition in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, 1860-80”

19 February: Gwen Bennett (Professor of Anthropology, McGill University), “Cities on a Sea of Grass: Urbanism on the North Asian Steppe”

26 February: Nikolas Gardner (Professor of History, Royal Military College of Canada), “The Experience of Indian Soldiers in Mesopotamia, 1915–1916”

5 March: No talk (study break)

12 March: Junko Takeda (Professor of History, Syracuse University), “They don’t have a word for entrepreneur? French mercantilism and the Asia Trade, 1650-1700”

19 March: Prashant Keshavmurty (Professor of Islamic Studies, McGill University), “Translating Rāma as a Proto-Muhammadan Prophet: Masih’s Masnavi-ye Rām va Sitā”

26 March: Wilson Chacko Jacob (Professor of History, Concordia University), “Oceans Apart: Discovering Sovereignty in the Life of Sayyid Fadl b. Alawi”

2 April: Banu Kaygusuz Tezel (PhD Student in East Asian Studies, University of Toronto), “Contra-images of Empires’ Identities: Collectivity and Incongruity in the Commemorative Photography Albums Circulated in the Japanese and the Ottoman Empires at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century”

9 April: Julie Laplante (Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa), “Indian Ocean Worlds: Tracing Anthropological Fluidities between South African Muti and Javanese Jamu Medicine”

16 April: Omri Bassewitch Frenkel (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Ginger, Pepper and Prestige: Spice Transplantation, the Philippine Project and Spanish Ideals of Chivalry”

23 April: Keynote Speech of the IOWC International Conference “Currencies of Commerce in the Greater Indian Ocean World”
(speaker and title TBA)

30 April: Andrew Ivaska (Professor of History, Concordia University), “Leftwing Political Networking in a Global 1960s: Dar es Salaam at a Crossroads”

7 May: Tyler Yank (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Exploring the Slavery Amelioration Project in Colonial Mauritius, c. 1826-1835”

[Talk]Bureaucrats, Smugglers, Peons and Preachers

Bureaucrats, Smugglers, Peons and Preachers – Regulating the Liquor Trade in Late Nineteenth Century India: Local Policy and Global Politics

By PeterHynd, IOWC PhD Student, McGill University

Thursday, 5 February 2015, 5:45 pm, Peterson Hall Rm 116 | 3460 McTavish Street | McGill University

*Reception to follow*

‘The Drink Question’ was a major political issue in Britain and throughout the British Empire during the second half of the nineteenth century. Colonial governments were often forced to shape their policies towards alcohol in response to concerns raised in Britain. In order to safeguard the revenue derived from the abkari (excise taxes) without offending domestic sensibilities, the Government of India adopted ‘maximum revenue from minimum consumption’ as their official guiding principle in regards to alcohol regulation. In execution these regulations, designed from the top down to promote state revenue without offending public opinion, often failed dramatically when faced with local idiosyncrasies and particular problems. Colonial bureaucrats in charge of the abkari, operating with limited resources, were regularly forced to modify and make local exceptions to their own rules and regulations when faced with problems beyond their ability to control. From smugglers and other criminals to religious leaders, from the weather to their own employees, abkari bureaucrats were constantly forced to adapt their policies to fit local circumstances, even if that occasionally meant violating higher principles. This talk will focus on a number of such examples, and explain how and why they are important to histories of colonial governance in late nineteenth century India.

One Hundred Years of Servitude

One Hundred Years of Servitude, Political economy of Tea Plantations in Colonial Assam, Conférence de Rana P. Behal (University of Delhi), avec le soutien de l’AFHMT et du CEIAS.

Mercredi 12 février, 14h-17h, EHESS – Salle 662, 190-198 avenue de France, 75013 Paris
Métro : Quai de la Gare (6) ou Bibliothèque (14)

L’ouvrage récemment publié par Rana P. Behal (One Hundred Years of Servitude – Political Economy of Tea Plantations in Colonial Assam, Tulia Books, New Delhi) revient sur un siècle d’histoire dans les plantations de thé de la vallée d’Assam en Inde, durant la domination coloniale britannique. Les six chapitres du livre étudient la période des années 1840 au milieu du XXe siècle. Au cours de celle-ci, plus de deux millions de travailleurs migrants, soumis à un régime d’asservissement contractuel (indentured servitude), produisirent dans ces plantations le thé destiné à un commerce international de plus en plus lucratif.

La présentation sera suivie d’un débat introduit par ALESSANDRO STANZIANI, Directeur d’études, EHESS-CNRS, CRH.

Contacts : Paul Boulland / Vanessa Caru

New Series in Labour History

Amsterdam University Press is announcing the birth of a new Series entitled “Social Histories of Work in Asia”.

The objective of the series is to encourage historical studies into the role and the position of labour in the dynamics of Asian societies, preferably from a longue durée perspective. The series will encourage studies into different types of labour (indentured, share cropping, self-employed, casual, precarious etc.) in different economic and cultural contexts. The range of themes includes the circulation of labour, free and unfree labour, gender and labour relations, labour conditions and labour laws and collective action. The series will include work from different humanities and social science disciplines that approach their subject from an historical angle.

For more information, click here

[New Book] After Oriental Despotism, by Stanziani

9781472533395We are glad to announce : After Oriental Despotism. Eurasian Growth in a Global Perspective, By Alessandro Stanziani, Bloomsbury, 2014, 192 p.

More on the publisher website

The concepts of economic backwardness, Asiatic despotism and orientalism have strongly influenced perceptions of modernization, democracy and economic growth over the last three centuries. This book provides an original view of Russian and Asian history that views both in a global perspective. Via this analysis, Alessandro Stanziani opens new dimensions in the study of state formation, the global slave trade, warfare and European and Asian growth.

After Oriental Despotism questions conventional oppositions between Europe and Asia. By revisiting the history of Eurasia in this context, the book offers a serious challenge to existing ideas about the aims and goals of economic growth.
Table Of Contents
Introduction: The Scope and Aims
1. The Historical Dimension of Economic Backwardness
2. Beyond Asiatic Despotism: Territorial Power and State Construction in Eurasia
3. The Power of the Steppe: the Mongol Heritage and the Expansion of the Muscovy
4. Slavery and Trade in Central Asia and Russia
5. Nor Feudalism or Capitalism : Agrarian Markets under Coercion
6. Beyond Economic Backwardness. Labor and Growth in Eurasia in the Long Nineteenth Century Conclusion : Russia in a Globalizing World Bibliography Index
“By revisiting the history of Russia and Eurasia in the context of global history, Stanziani is successful in breaking a number of our preconceptions. Indispensable for those who are keen to reconsider the conventional narrative and understanding of the history of the world.” – Haneda Masashi, Professor of History, University of Tokyo, Japan

“After Oriental Despotism is a fascinating and ground-breaking study of human bondage in Russia and Central Asia… This is a pioneering study of Russian serfdom in Eurasian context.” – Elise Wirtschafter, Professor of History, California State Polytechnic University, USA

“A wide ranging account that links power and the perception of power to the historical dynamics of Eurasian societies from the sixteenth century. Alessandro Stanziani is particularly instructive on labour controls and the related relationship between coercion and economic growth. An important work.” – Jeremy Black MBE, Professor of History at the University of Exeter, UK and author of Beyond the Military Revolution: War in the Seventeenth-Century World and War in the Eighteenth-Century World

“At a moment when some of the most repressive regimes see the fastest economic growth, it is time to revisit our cherished notions about the connections between freedom and economic development, between democracy and capitalism. To do so, Stanziani disentangles the economic history of Russia during the past few centuries — usually considered to be exhibit A in any accounts of backwardness–and finds that its economic performance was much better than we have been led to believe and that it succeeded on the back of particularly coercive forms of labor mobilization, and autocratic political institutions. The disconcerting lesson of this path-breaking book is that economic growth can take on many different forms, and be channeled by very different institutions. Freedom, democracy and liberal institutions are neither a precondition for modern economic growth nor an automatic outcome of it. A must read for anyone interested in global economic history.” – Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University, USA and author of Empire of Cotton: The Global Origins of Modern Capitalism (2014)
– See more at:

[Announcing] “Travail libre/Travail forcé” January Conference

heSamWe are glad to announce the first Conference of the NEXT-heSam project entitled:

“Travail libre/travail forcé. Contraintes locales et dynamiques globales. Afrique, Europe, Asie, du XVe siècle à nos jours”.

On : January 9 and 10 2015

At : Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF) UMR 8171
Centre Malher, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne  (9, rue Malher 75004 Paris)
Amphithéâtre Georges Dupuis (1er sous-sol)

Financed by Paris Nouveau Mundi (

Coordinated by : Alessandro Stanziani (EHESS)


click here to download

Vendredi 9 janvier 2015

Matinée (9h30-13h)

9h30 Introduction

Du Maroc d’Al Mansour à la Guinée de Cap Vert; un modèle partagé de captivité pour les nobles à la fin du XVIe siècle?”
Peter MARK (Department of Art History, Wesleyan University, Middletown)

11h Pause-café

Définitions et pratiques du contrat d’engagisme/indentured, du XVIIe au XIXe siècle

Esclavage, servage et corvée au Buganda (1888-1914) : l’invention africaine d’un travail colonial
Henri MEDARD (IMAF-Aix Marseille Université)

13h Déjeuner

Après-midi (14h-17h30)

14h Why Definition matters? The League of Nations and the Fabrication of a Colonial Fiction on Labour in Angola

Between Slavery and Freedom: The First 24 Libertos of the Mixed Commission in mid-Nineteenth century Luanda
José C. CURTO (Department of History, York University, Toronto)

16h Pause-café

L’articulation entre le travail libre et le travail forcé dans les sociétés esclavagistes des colonies françaises
Frédéric REGENT (Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHFR/IHMC)

De la civilisation du travail à la loi du travail : Législation et pratiques du travail forcé au Sénégal, 1919-1960
Romain TIQUET (Humboldt Universität, Berlin)

18h30 Cocktail

Samedi 10 janvier 2015

Matinée (9h30-12h30)

9h30 Travail forcé, violence et guerre dans l’Italie occupée : protagonistes, législation et pratiques locales.

Définir l’expérience du travail des Françaises dans l’Allemagne national-socialiste. Variations temporelles et géographiques

10h30 Pause-café

Le travail forcé en URSS au-delà et en-deçà du Goulag: peut-on distinguer travail forcé et travail libre dans le contexte stalinien?

12h30 Déjeuner

Après-midi (13h30-17h)

13h30 La dichotomie travail forcé/libre à l’épreuve de deux études de cas : les ouvrières marocaines sous contrat en Espagne et les prostituées nigérianes endettées en France
Emmanuelle HELLIO & Prune DE MONTVALON (URMIS, Nice),

Enjeux sociaux et moraux de l’introduction de l’expression « travail esclave » pour qualifier le travail forcé rural au Brésil
Alexis MARTIG (CELAT-Université Laval à Québec)

16h Pause-café

Table ronde, autour de Philippe Minard, Catarina Madeira Santos, Thomas Vernet et Alessandro Stanziani.


Comité scientifique et d’organisation du colloque :
Claude Chevaleyre, EHESS (Cecmc)
Coen KOMPIER, ILO (Delhi)
Thomas VERNET, Paris I (IMAF)
Bénedicte ZIMMERMANN, EHESS (Ctre Simmel)

Contact : 

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