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HIST 413: Slavery in the Premodern World

Term:

Credits: 4

Degree Requirements: F9

Major Requirements: Global/Comparative, Period prior to 1500

The history of slavery is often presented as a straight line of development from the Roman estateto the American plantation. Yet more than a thousand years passed between the end of theRoman empire and the establishment of the first New World colonies, a millennium duringwhich slavery existed and was taken for granted all over the world. Premodern forms of slaverydiffered from the nineteenth-century plantation model: they tended to be small-scale, urban,domestic, female, and grounded in religious rather than racial difference. Through our study ofthe distinctive features of premodern slavery, especially religious difference and genderedexpectations of domestic and sexual service from most slave women, we will reexaminecommon assumptions about what slavery means and how it works more generally. Our primaryfocus will be on the Mediterranean region, but we will also consider examples from northernEurope, Asia, Africa, and the Americas between 500 and 1500 C.E.

Minimum of Sophomore standing required to enroll.

Prerequisites: none.