Slaves, convicts, indentured immigrants, and unfree seamen have traveled the world’s oceans at many times and places throughout human history. Across the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, this bondage took divergent forms and exhibited a range of historical dynamics. In spite of this variety, the conventional Atlantic World historical paradigm has largely shaped our understanding of modernity as being defined by exploration and discovery, European dominance, global capitalism, and the transition from slavery to free labor. Not only does this perspective evince a Eurocentric emphasis on the ‘uniqueness’ of the West, but it is increasingly contested even for the Atlantic itself. This provocative study contrasts the romantic conflation of freedom and the sea with the complex labor relationships of seamen, slaves, and immigrants in the Indian Ocean during the long nineteenth century. In the process, it advances a new framework for understanding labor, bondage, and modernization.
1. Colonial Studies, Area Studies, and the Historical Meaning of the Indian Ocean
2. Seamen in France and the French Empire: Heirs to the Galley Slave or Forerunners of the Social Security System?
3. Sailors in the British Empire
4. Slaveries and Emancipation
5. Immigrants and Planters in the Reunion Island
6. From British Servants to Indentured Immigrants: The Case of Mauritius
‘Stanziani’s important study demonstrates that even those nations that struggled against slavery accepted major limits on the freedom of labor. He makes clear that both in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere, on land and sea, most laboring men and women were in some ways bound.’ – Martin Klein, Professor Emeritus of African Studies, University of Toronto, Canada’
This is a highly original, provocative, and powerfully argued book that brings together a number of vibrant and dynamic historiographical debates. Stanziani successfully challenges a number of ideas on sea bound labor that derive from the existing scholarship’s exaggerated focus on the Atlantic Ocean. He convincingly shows that in the world of the Indian Ocean there was no clear passage from slavery to wage labor but rather the coexistence of different forms of bondage, dependence and servitude. A highly welcomed contribution to the burgeoning field of global labor history.’ – Andreas Eckert, Professor and Chair of African History, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Publication DateSeptember 2014
FormatsHardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF)
SeriesPalgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies