[New Book] Sailors, Slaves, and Immigrants, by Stanziani

9781137448453We are glad to announce the publication of Sailors, Slaves, and immigrants. Bondage in the Indian Ocean World, 1750-1914, by Alessandro Stanziani (Palgrave McMillan, Sept. 2014)

see on the publisher’s webpage


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)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
SeriesPalgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies

[Call for papers] Indentured Migrant Labor and Indentured Laborers in the Heart of Colonial Empires

Call For Papers

Indentured Migrant Labor and Indentured Laborers in the Heart of Colonial Empires:
State of the field and research perspectives
17th-21st centuries
Bordeaux, May 11-12, 2015

This international conference will be held as part of the 5th Rencontres Atlantiques (Atlantic conference series) organized by the Musée d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux and the International center for Research on Slavery (CIRESC).

As bonded labor, slavery and the slavetrade were being debated, condemned and gradually forbidden by colonial and imperial powers, projects advocating the use of indentured migrant laboremerged. This was meant to take in the colonies free foreign labor who, before leaving their country of origin, had signed a contractwhich would legally oblige them to work for an employer for a fixed number of years. Though strongly inspired by the indenture system put in place in America in the seventeenth century, these projects must be distinguished from the latter system, notably because they would concern almost exclusively non-European populations. The use of this new type of labor –indentured non-European migrants –kept on growing throughout the nineteenth century and lasted until the aftermath of the First World War.

Thus, for more than a century, thousands of workers, men, women and children, left the Asian and African continents as indentured labor for either the American colonies or the former colonies located in the Indian Ocean, or for the territories recently conquered by imperial powers in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
The departure and the arrival of thousands of indentured laborers had a huge impact on the economies of the colonial societies and their social and racial organizations, as well as on the cultures and lives of indigenous peoples, and those of the laborers themselves. These impacts were all the more significant as for many of the latter, temporary migration became permanent. And indeed, these indentured laborers permanently altered life and traditions in the colonies they integrated. The legacy of this peculiar type of migration is still very much present in today’s post-colonial societies.
Compared to the abundant historiography devoted to slavery, the slave trade and the migratory movements of European workers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and despite its being essential to understand colonialism and imperialism, the indenture system has only been marginally studied. However, in recent decades many researchers have studied these migrations and this system of labor. However, most of the research in this field is generally centered on the experience of a specific group of migrants, defined by continental origin, place of departure or final destination. For instance, because of their longevity and their numerical strength, the indenture system put in place in the Indian Ocean and the indentured Indian population received great attention, especially within the British Empire.

This international conference intends to contribute to a reconsideration of the historiography of the indenture system, the latter having been too often fragmented by Empire, colony, or group of indentured laborers. We thus wish to bring together specialists working on different regions, empires or colonies,on different periods and issues, so as to encourage comparative, cross and comprehensive studies on the many questions raised by the indenture system.

The committee especially encourages the submission of proposals with a comparative approach, or articulating different political and/or geographical scales, or placing indentured laborers or their descendants at the center of the research.
Suggested topics for paper proposals: the genealogy of indentured migrant labor, the various rationales explaining the use of such labor; recruitment conditions; links or interconnections between indentured migration and other types of migration, the construction of the legal tools to manage and control these foreign workers but also their descendants, the demographic, economic, social, cultural and political impacts of these migrations and this form of work on the colonialsocieties and their populations, the social and racial reorganizations that may have resulted from these migrations; the migrants’ motivations when indenturing themselves, reactions and/or strategies of resistance in the colonies; indentured laborers’ strategies for integration, the laborers’ circulations in the various colonies and/or empires; the formation of diasporas; the contemporary legacies, the ways in which the indentured system has been remembered and commemorated, and the identity claims of people defining themselves as descendants of indentured migrants.

Submission guidelines

Please send an abstract (300 to 500 words) in English or French, and a one-page CV to: colloquengagisme@gmail.com
No later than December 14, 2014


Nathalie Collain (CNRS/CRPLC/CIRESC), Céline Flory (CNRS/Mondes Américains/CERMA/CIRESC), Sophie Fontan (Musée d’Aquitaine), François Hubert (Musée d’Aquitaine), Katia Kukawka (Musée d’Aquitaine)

Scientific Committee

Antonio de Almeida Mendes (Université de Nantes/CRHIA/CIRESC)
Laurence Brown (Université de Manchester)
Virginie Chaillou (Université de Nantes/CRHIA)
Céline Flory (CNRS/Mondes Américains/CERMA/CIRESC)
François Hubert (Musée d’Aquitaine)
Katia Kukawka (Musée d’Aquitaine)
Jean Moomou (Université des Antilles/AIHP GEODE)
Alessandro Stanziani (CNRS/EHESS/CRH)
Ibrahima Thioub (Université Cheik Anta Diop/CARTE)

[Update] Project Workshop: Bondage, Rights, and Voice…


Dates : 9-11 October 2014,

Location: EHESS, Paris Sale 8, 105 Bd Raspail. Salle 8, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), 105 Bd Raspail, 75006 Paris (Metro Saint-Sulpice, ligne 4)


It is estimated that some 27 million people live in contemporary forms of human bondage, notably in the Indian Ocean World (IOW), a vast region running from Eastern Africa, to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia to China. This conference will explore the relationship between historical and contemporary forms of servitude and human trafficking in the IOW within the context of socio-economic, institutional and specific environment interaction, from the 17th century to present days.

Scholars, activists and representatives of international organizations (ILO) and ONGs will interact to set a new research agenda and new policies orientations.
This conference is the conclusive meeting of a France-Quebec program, co-sponsored by the ANR and the FQRSC.
Further information on the program and the team on: http://aiow.hypotheses.org/


8 October – Arrival

9 October
• Introduction: Gwyn Campbell, Alessandro Stanziani
• Xiyang Liu, Simon Fraser University, “Female Domestics and the Neo-Confucian Family Ideal in Ming and Qing China.”
• Claude Chevaleyre EHESS Paris, “From bonded to free labor in late Ming China. A comparison of bondservants and hired-laborers.”
• Margaret Kalacska and Pablo Arroyo, McGill University, “Disease in the 19th Century: Results from the MCRI database on the history of human-environment interaction in the IOW.”
• Ian Breman, University of Amsterdam, “On bondage old and new. unfree labour and the globalization of capitalism.”

13.00-14.00 Lunch

• Gwyn Campbell, IOWC, McGill University, “The Question of Demand for Malagasy Labour in the Mascarenes, 1820-45.”
• Alessandro Stanziani, EHESS Paris, “Post-slavery labor and bondage in the Indian Ocean.”
• Catarina Madeira Santos, EHESS, CEAF, “Servitude par dettes, justice et colonialisme en Angola: crédit africain, traite atlantique et impôt indigène (XVIIIème-XXème siècles).”
• Matthew Pritchard, McGill University, “Perceptions of Slavery in an Independent South Sudan: The impacts of forced migration on contemporary labour and gendered relations in a post-conflict environment.”

10 October
• Smita Premchander, Sampark, Bangalore, “Contracting and sub-contracting: how markets work to perpetuate indebtedness and bondage.”
• Jon Unruh, McGill University, “The Somali Bantu: contemporary attempts at exiting slavery’s legacy.”
• Coen Kompier, ILO, Delhi, “Fifteen Years of ILO Bonded Labor Interventions in India.”
• Tonia Warnecke, Co-Director of the Center for India & South Asia, Rollins College, “Sex and Money: Female Slavery in Contemporary China.”

13.00-14.00 Lunch

• Beate Andrees, ILO, Geneva, Head, “The Price of Having a Job: Labour Recruitment Practises in Global Markets”.
• Sudhir Katiyar, Centre for Labor Research and Action, Udaipur, Rajasthan. “Debt and bondage in contemporary Indian economy. A case study of brick kiln industry’.”
• Isabelle Guèrin IRD-University Paris 7, “Contemporary Bondage in South India”
• Jo Ann Levesque, Directrice du développement stratégique de la recherche, Université du Québec, “Funding Opportunities for Continued International Collaboration.”

11 October
• Margaret Kalacska and Pablo Arroyo, McGill University, “Global Warming and Natural Disasters in the IOW since 1980.”
• Laura De Lisi, EHESS, Child labor and its interaction with adult labor in Ivory Coast (1980-2002)
• Nithya Joseph, EHESS-French Institute of Pondicherry, “The roles of debt in labor contracts in a South Indian silk-reeling hub.”
• David Picherit, EHESS, CEIAS, “Servitude and debt in South India.”

October 12:

Sponsored by the ANR-FQRSC France-Quebec Program

McGill IOWC speakers series (fall 2014)

Dear colleagues,

We have finalized our 2014 Fall Speaker Series at the IOWC and have many exciting talks lined up. All talks occur weekly, every Thursday from 17h45-19h30, in Peterson Hall, Room 116 on the McGill Campus (for more details, please see attached programme), and are followed by a small reception.


To view the program, click here

Announcing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa starting Jan 2015

***Announcing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa starting Jan 2015.***

Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), Faculty of the Humanities, the University of the Witwatersrand

Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (established in 2010) announces a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship starting January 2015 and funded by the Government of India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and located in CISA and affiliated to the most dynamic School of Social Sciences on the African continent.

The award will be R 250,000 per year, including medical aid and with an additional R 50,000 per year for research expenses. Candidates need to have a PhD by the time the fellowship commences, in any relevant discipline. In addition to being active in research and participating in the scholarly life of the centre, the candidate is required to do some supervision of MA and PhD dissertation research for a small group of students engaged in research on the theme of ‘the migration of labour and capital from India to Africa and emerging notions of global responsibility.’

The postdoctoral scholar’s research might be on a range of topics concerning movements of labour and capital, work regimes, recompositions of caste and community, the political economy and politics of land and resources, trajectories of Indian business, or finance capital in various parts of Africa, but with a contemporary focus that connects Indian capital and labour to African research sites. Candidates with research experience on capital and labour and with familiarity with African research contexts who can supervise work in these fields are encouraged to apply. There will also be an opportunity to participate in conference and seminar planning at CISA, as well as in the vibrant intellectual life at the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Applicants should send their CVs; a covering letter stating how their training intersects with the interests of CISA and with the Indian Government project; and three references.

Complete applications to the fellowship should be emailed to Reshmi.Singh@wits.ac.za on or before October 15 or posted to the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of Witwatersrand, 36 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein, Private Bag 3 Wits 2050 Johannesburg South Africa. — with Isabel Hofmeyr and Dilip Menon.

Dilip Menon
Mellon Chair in Indian Studies
Director, Centre for Indian Studies in Africa
36 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
University of the Witwatersrand Pvt Bag 3 PO Wits 2050
Johannesburg South Africa
tel: (011) 717 4127 cell: (27)763983407

New publications

 Nile Green, Bombay Islam. The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 344 p.

9781107627796As a thriving port city, nineteenth-century Bombay attracted migrants from across India and beyond. Nile Green’s Bombay Islam traces the ties between industrialization, imperialism, and the production of religion to show how Muslim migration from the oceanic and continental hinterlands of Bombay in this period fueled demand for a wide range of religious suppliers, as Christian missionaries competed with Muslim religious entrepreneurs for a stake in the new market. Enabled by a colonial policy of non-intervention in religious affairs, and powered by steam travel and vernacular printing, Bombay’s Islamic productions were exported as far as South Africa and Iran. Connecting histories of religion, labour, and globalization, the book examines the role of ordinary people – mill hands and merchants – in shaping the demand that drove the market. By drawing on hagiographies, travelogues, doctrinal works, and poems in Persian, Urdu, and Arabic, Bombay Islam unravels a vernacular modernity that saw people from across the Indian Ocean drawn into Bombay’s industrial economy of enchantment.

More information on CUP online

Daniel Marston, The Indian Army and the End of the Raj, Cambridge UNiversity Press, 2014, 397 p. 

9780521899758The Partition of British India in 1947 resulted in the establishment of the independent states of India and Pakistan and the end of the British Raj. The decision to divide British India along religious lines led to widespread upheaval and communal violence in the period leading up to and following the official day of independence, 15 August 1947. In this book, Daniel Marston provides a unique examination of the role of the Indian army in post-World War II India. He draws upon extensive research into primary source documents and interviews with veterans of the events of 1947 to provide fresh insight into the vital part that the Indian Army played in preserving law and order in the region. This rigorous book fills a significant gap in the historiography of the British in India and will be invaluable to those studying the British Empire and South Asia more generally.

More information on CUP online

Min Ye, Diasporas and Foreign Direct Investment in China and India, Cambridge University Press, 2014

9781107054196This book offers a comparative and historical analysis of foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization in China and India and explains how the return of these countries’ diasporas affects such liberalization. It examines diasporic investment from Western FDIs and finds that diasporas, rather than Western nations, have fueled globalization in the two Asian giants. In China, diasporas contributed the lion’s share of FDI inflows. In India, returned diasporas were bridges for, and initiators of, Western investment at home. Min Ye illustrates that diasporic entrepreneurs helped to build China into the world’s manufacturing powerhouse and that Indian diasporas facilitated their homeland’s success in software services development.

More information on CUP online

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, Great Lakes Creoles. A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750–1860, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 326 p

9781107052864A case study of one of America’s many multi-ethnic border communities, Great Lakes Creoles builds upon recent research on gender, race, ethnicity, and politics as it examines the ways that the old fur trade families experienced and responded to the colonialism of United States expansion. Lucy Murphy examines Indian history with attention to the pluralistic nature of American communities and the ways that power, gender, race, and ethnicity were contested and negotiated in them. She explores the role of women as mediators shaping key social, economic, and political systems, as well as the creation of civil political institutions and the ways that men of many backgrounds participated in and influenced them. Ultimately, The Great Lakes Creoles takes a careful look at Native people and their complex families as active members of an American community in the Great Lakes region.

More information on CUP online

Chinese Railroad Workers

For those interested in 19th Century Chinese labor migrations to the West, Stanford University has launched a project on Chinese railroad Workers with plenty of online materials and upcoming events in 2015.

Presentation :

“Between 1865 and 1869, thousands of Chinese migrants toiled at a grueling pace and in perilous working conditions to help construct America’s First Transcontinental Railroad. The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project seeks to give a voice to the Chinese migrants whose labor on the Transcontinental Railroad helped to shape the physical and social landscape of the American West. The Project coordinates research in the United States and Asia in order to create an on-line digital archive available to all. The Project is also organizing major conferences and public events at Stanford and in China in 2015 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of large numbers of Chinese to work on the railroad.
2015 will be the 150th anniversary of the introduction of large numbers of Chinese workers on the construction of the first transcontinental railway across North America, a project that culminated with Leland Stanford driving the famous “golden spike” completing the line. The labor of these Chinese workers (who eventually numbered between 10-15,000 at any one moment) was central to creating the wealth that Leland Stanford used to found Stanford University. But these workers have never received the attention they deserve. We know relatively little about their lives. What led them to come to the United States? What experiences did they have in their arduous work? How did they live their daily lives? What kinds of communities did they create? How did their work on the railroad change the lives of their families in China and how did it change the lives of the workers themselves, both those who returned to China or went elsewhere after the railroad’s completion and those who stayed in the U.S.?”

More on the project website

Doc/Post-doc fellowships – Max Plank Institut

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in
social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative
analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to
anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology has the opportunity to offer 2 PhD grants starting 1st of October 2014 (or as soon as possible thereafter), within the Research Group

“Connectivity in Motion: Port Cities of the Indian Ocean” Headed by Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schnepel (MPI-Fellow)

The Research Group examines the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of movements across the
Indian Ocean. Several paradigmatic port cities of the Indian Ocean are taken as empirical starting
points for social anthropological and ethnohistorical research. The Research Group is guided by the
theorem of connectivity in motion”. Hence, it studies the manifold linkages and networks across the
Indian Ocean, focusing on the maritime movements of human beings, material objects, ideas,
religions, languages, political systems and technologies through which alone such connections come to
life. Taking the Indian Ocean as a frame of reference and applying a transregional perspective on
“connectivity in motion” also seeks to achieve new insights in the problematic of globalization. It adds
historical depth to and “re-orients” common views of globalization, as it is concerned not only with
earlier, but also with eastern and southern forms of globalization.
For further information on the programme, see:

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
We expect successful candidates to conduct intensive ethnohistorical research in one or more port
cities of the Indian Ocean of their own choices, preferably at the East African Coast or in
Southeast Asia.

Your Profile
Good field research skills, the ability and willingness to work in a team, communication skills with
good and written English are required. As a rule dissertations will be written in English. Acquisition of
German language is encouraged and assisted by the MPI.

The curriculum will take place in Halle/Saale and the group will work together also in Halle/Saale.

Our Offer
The PhD grants offered here will be awarded for three years, with the possibility of two six-month
extensions. The grants are not taxed and they are free from social security stipulations.

The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages
applications. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in
underrepresented fields; we thus explicitly encourage applications by women.

The MaxNetAging Research is also seeking applications for doc and post-doc starting February 2015
Details here and here

CALL FOR PROPOSALS A Regional Symposium on: Extreme Weather, Disasters, and Indigenous Practices in South Asia


A Regional Symposium on: Extreme Weather, Disasters, and Indigenous Practices in South Asia

A day-long symposium sponsored by the American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) (AIBS, AIIS, AIPS, AISLS, ANHS)

Hosted by the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies (AIBS)
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Thursday, October 16, 2014.

Dr. Golam M. Mathbor, AIBS President

Email: info@aibs.net

New Book Series : “Work Around the Globe”

The International Insititute of Social History is announcing a new book series entitled Work around the Globe :

Work around the Globe: Historical Comparisons and Connections
Most human beings work, and are exposed to labour markets. These markets are increasingly globally competitive and cause both capital and labour to move around the world. Understanding these developments and their consequences in the world of work and labour relations requires sound historical research, based on the experiences of different groups of workers in different parts of the world at different moments in time, throughout human history. This new series offers a high-quality, peer-reviewed publication platform for the results of research in this topical field. Published by Amsterdam University Press. For optimal availability for readers all over the world, volumes in this series are published online in open access. See series titles

Webpage here

[Book] Fighting for Living

fighting-for-a-living-Fighting for a Living. A Comparative History of Military Labour 1500-2000, Erik-Jan Zürcher, ed., Amsterdam University Press 2013. 688 pp.

Historians have long overlooked the labour involved in soldiering. With the publication of Fighting for a Living, the world of military workers is brought to the forefront of scholarly inquiry.

This new publication investigates the circumstances that have produced starkly different systems of recruiting and employing soldiers in different parts of the globe over the last 500 years, on the basis of case studies from Europe, Africa, America, the Middle East and Asia.
The twenty contributions to this volume undertake a systematic comparative analysis of military labour, addressing two distinct, and normally quite separate, communities: labour historians and military historians.
Fighting for a Living is the first volume of IISH’s new book series: Work around the Globe: Historical Comparisons and Connections, published by Amsterdam University Press.For optimal availability for readers all over the world, volumes in this series are published online in open access.

It is also included in the pilot project of Knowledge Unlatched, a collaborate initiative enabling open access books, helping stakeholders to work together for a sustainable open future for specialist scholarly books. This includes free access for end users, to ensure optimal availability for readers all over the world.

Ottoman Empire, Great Powers and the Roads to India, 1830-1880

Veysel Simsek, PhD Candidate, McMaster University, will give a lecture on Ottoman Empire, Great Powers and the Roads to India, 1830-1880

Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 4:45 pm, 116 Peterson Hall, at MacGill University, Canada


From the late 18th to the early 20th century, the fate of the Ottoman Empire was an integral part of Great Power politics. Often referred to as the “Eastern Question” by contemporary statesmen and modern historians, the international struggle over the political and economic hegemony in the Middle East was also closely linked to the hegemony over the trade routes between Europe and the Indian subcontinent. In the context of Ottoman centralization and reform in the 19th century, this research seeks to explore the Ottoman policies towards Egypt, Levant and Mesopotamia, areas whose historical significance were re-defined with the growing political and commercial ties between India and Britain. By bringing Ottoman agency into the discussion, something often overlooked, the study will investigate how the “Eastern Question” was linked to the European struggle over securing and shortening the “Roads to India.”

[Books] Announcing “Bondage” by A. Stanziani

Alessandro Stanziani just published Bondage. Labor and Rights in Eurasia from the Sixteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries. New York, Oxford : Berghahn, (International Studies in Social History Volume 24), 2014, 258 p.

“For the first time, this book provides the global history of labor in Central Eurasia, Russia, Europe, and the Indian Ocean between the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. It contests common views on free and unfree labor, and compares the latter to many Western countries where wage conditions resembled those of domestic servants. This gave rise to extreme forms of dependency in the colonies, not only under slavery, but also afterwards in form of indentured labor in the Indian Ocean and obligatory labor in Africa. The author shows that unfree labor and forms of economic coercion were perfectly compatible with market development and capitalism, proven by the consistent economic growth that took place all over Eurasia between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries. This growth was labor intensive: commercial expansion, transformations in agriculture, and the first industrial revolution required more labor, not less. Finally, Stanziani demonstrates that this world did not collapse after the French Revolution or the British industrial revolution, as is commonly assumed, but instead between 1870 and 1914, with the second industrial revolution and the rise of the welfare state.”

Preview on Google Books / Full pdf cover

Table of contents



The Scope and Main Argument of this Book
The Legal Status and Rights of Labor in Russia and Europe
Serfdom in a Comparative Perspective
Global, Local, Imperial: Scales of Analysis

Part I. Bondage Imagined

Chapter 1. Second Serfdom and Wage Earners in European and Russian Thought from the Enlightenment to the Mid-nineteenth Century
The Eighteenth Century: Forced Labor between Reform and Revolution
Enlightenment and Serfdom in Russia
The Proletarians Are the Real Serfs: Utopian Socialism, Christian Socialism, and Radical Thought
Chapter 2. Poor Laws, Management, and Labor Control in Russia and Britain, or the History of the Bentham Brothers in Russia
A Global History of Labor Control: The Case of the Bentham Brothers in Russia
Estate Organization in Russia: Instruktsiia, or How to Supervise the Supervisor
Controlling Labor: Paupers and Servants in Britain
The Fate of Bentham’s Panopticon: Labor Organization in Nineteenth-century Britain and Russia

Part II. The Architecture of Bondage: Slaves and Serfs in Central Asia and Russia

Chapter 3. Slavery and Bondage in Central Asia and Russia from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Century
Kholopy: Slaves, Serfs, or Indentured Servants?
War Captives at a Crossroads of Empires
Slavery in Central Eurasia: Its Estimation and Overall Interpretation
Chapter 4. The Institutions of Serfdom
Property Rules and the Legal Status of Russian Peasantry
Changing Legal Status: Administrative Procedure or Court Proceedings
Peasants in Town
Conclusion: Legal Status and Economic Dynamism in Imperial Russia
Chapter 5. Labor and Dependence on Russian Estates
Proto-Industry, Trade, and Growth in the Eighteenth Century
From Peasant-masters to Peasant-workers? (1800–1861)
Toward a Reassessment of Second Serfdom in Eastern Europe

Part III. Old Bondage, New Practices: A Comparative View of the Russian, European, and Indian Ocean Worlds

Chapter 6. The Persistent Servant: Labor, Rules, and Social Hierarchies in France and Britain from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century
Labor Constraints in England
A French Exception?
Chapter 7. Bondage across the Ocean. Indentured Labor in the Indian Ocean
The Main Argument
Forms of Bondage in the Indian Ocean
Forced Migration Across the Oceans: Convicts
The Invention of Engagisme
Engagés from Asia and Africa in the Indian Ocean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Engagisme after Slavery
From Servants to Indentured Immigrants: The Case of Mauritius
Toward a New World?
Conclusion. The Collapse and Resurgence of Bondage
Collective Bargaining and the “New” Labor Contract in Western Countries
Population, Migration, and Labor, 1870–1914
Russian Growth: From Serfdom to Bondage?

Printed Documents
Selected Bibliography

Announcing 4 Lectures by Prof. Ulbe Bosma

1. Free and unfree labour in colonial Southeast Asia

Challenging Hegel’s famous dictum that only the ruler is free in oriental societies, historians and anthropologists have catalogued a bewildering variety of conceptions of freedom and bondedness throughout Asia. The existing levels of social differentiation and the concomitant constraints on labour were rather inconvenient for colonial administrations who aimed at simplifying this diversity for revenue purposes and ‘freeing up’ labour for global commodity production. Both civil servants and European plantation owners spoke of free labour, an objective that they expected to accomplish by curbing the claims on labour by local patrimonial structures. It has often been observed that this was just replacing one system of unfreedom by another: tributary labour was quite often just replaced by regimes of colonial coerced labour on construction sites or plantations. Or to mention another example, the same colonial powers who combated different types of slavery including debt-slavery legalized migratory labour under coerced circumstances by establishing the institution of so-called indentured migrations. Cases from the Netherlands Indies, the Malay states, and the Philippines will be discussed within the wider framework of debates on what free and unfree labour might mean in different historical contexts.

2. Global sugar and local taste in India

Before oil became the world’s prime commodity, sugar was the most valuable bulk. In the nineteenth century, the emergence of industrial beet sugar complexes in Europe and the industrialisation of cane sugar production in its colonies brought refined sugar within reach, first of European and later of American and Asian masses. From the 1860s onwards, Asian producers and consumers increasingly began to play a role in the world market for industrial sugar. Java, Mauritius, the Philippines and Taiwan became important sites of production, whereas Japan, India and China were opened up as markets for industrially manufactured white crystalline sugar. Urban middle classes throughout the world became consumers of massive quantities of these sugars, but local sugars did not entirely disappear. As this lecture will detail, this was particularly not the case in India, which has been the largest producer of sugar for most of human history. In this country raw sugar, so-called gur, continues to be extremely popular until today not just for its price but even more so for its taste. This item has even become part of a global discourse against refined industrial sugar as unhealthy and devoid of any nutrients beyond sucrose.

3. Commodity production and transforming village production: comparing Madras and Java

In the early years of the nineteenth century, colonial administrators of British India and the Netherlands Indies were mulling over the question how to raise agricultural productivity in their newly acquired territorial possessions to strengthen the economic basis for their emerging colonial apparatuses. The combination of securing property rights (giving the peasants a legal and registered title on their land) and raising a moderate land rent were considered as the most appropriate means to enhance agricultural output both for local and global markets. These principles were put in practice through the so-called ryotwari land rent system, which Thomas Munro introduced in Madras, a model that was also followed by Thomas Stamford Raffles in Java. Things turned out less favourably for local rural societies in the two areas, however. Whereas large groups of peasants did become increasingly reliant on cash crops, it was not thanks to the attractions of the global market, but as a result of indebtedness and pressure from wealthier and more powerful farmers. This lecture aims to discuss different social configurations at the village levels that emerged in the course of colonial commodity production.

4. From colonial to global knowledge: circuits of botanists

In the era of colonial monopolies of precious items like spices, plant knowledge was usually acquired through espionage and species were obtained through smuggling. This began to change by around 1800, when knowledge was spread through the increasing mobility of planters across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean spaces. Planters from the Caribbean started indigo and sugar plantations in South and Southeast Asia for example. But even more than these individuals the scientific rules of knowledge dissemination and publication began to cut through colonial boundaries in the course of the nineteenth century. While ‘classical colonial history’ would point out the importance of the imperial experimental stations in Pasuruan, Bogor, Coimbatore, Barbados and so on, backed up by their metropolitan institutions like Kew Gardens and Wageningen Agricultural University, colonial boundaries hardly existed for botanical knowledge. On the basis of concrete examples of circulations of plant species and botanical knowledge, planters’ mobility and the dissemination of knowledge by experimental stations, this lecture aims at exploring how we should define these circuits vis-à-vis existing literature on colonial structures of knowledge production.

Dates and places:

1 Free and unfree labour in colonial Southeast Asia , séminaire de Maurice Aymard, Jean-Yves Grenier, Gilles Postel-Vinay, Alessandro Stanziani, le lundi 10 mars, salle 1, 105 bd Raspail, 17-20 heures

2 Global sugar and local taste in India dans le cadre du séminaire de Françoise Sabban,
Caroline Bodolec, Frédéric Obringer jeudi 13 mars, salle 681, 190 avenue de France, 11-13 heures.

3 Commodity production and transforming village production: comparing Madras and Java , séminaire de Laurent Berger le lundi 17 mars, salle 1, 105 bd Raspail, 11-13 heures

4 From colonial to global knowledge: circuits of botanists, Séminaire central du Case, le 27 mars : 10-12 heures, Maison de l’Asie, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris
M° Iéna ou Trocadéro