Slavery, Ransom and Liberation in Russia

CFP: a conference in Aberdeen, June 2009

Slavery, Ransom and Liberation in Russia and the Steppe Area, 1500-2000 - Aberdeen 06/09

Dr. Christoph Witzenrath, Aberdeen Centre for Eastern European History, University of Aberdeen, UK, Aberdeen 15.06.2009-16.06.2009, University of Aberdeen. Linklater Rooms
Deadline: 11.01.2009

Recent research has demonstrated that early modern slavery was much more widespread than the traditional concentration on plantation slavery in the context of European colonial expansion would suggest. Slavery and slave trading were common across wide stretches of Eurasia, and a slave economy played a vital part in the political and cultural contacts between Russia and its Eurasian neighbours. This international conference backed by the Leverhulme Trust concentrates on captivity, slavery and ransom in the vicinity of the Eurasian steppe from the early modern period to recent developments and seeks to explore its legacy and relevance down to the present day. The conference will centre on the Russian Empire, while aiming to bring together scholars from various disciplines and historical traditions of the leading states in this region, including Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, Persia, Mongolia and China, and their various successor states. At the centre of attention will be transfers, transnational fertilisations and the institutional mechanisms, rituals and representations facilitating enslavement, exchanges and ransoming. Slaving, ransoming and captivity have long been marginal subjects of historical research in this area; however, recently historians in Russian imperial history and in some other fields have returned to take a fresh look at a subject that continues to influence mutual perceptions in the area as demonstrated by popular culture, social movements and nineteenth century discourse on Northern American slavery. Conference participants may approach the subject informed by social and cultural historical methods. The conference will seek to apply clearly defined terms, especially with respect to slaves and other forms of bonded labour, and will look at such topics as: