Sailors, Slaves, and Immigrants. Bondage in the Indian Ocean World, 1750-1914

Institute of Historical Research
Paris Sorbonne University

Sailors, Slaves, and Immigrants. Bondage in the Indian Ocean World, 1750-1914

Alessandro Stanziani
(EHESS)

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.

Franco-British History seminar series

Author: 
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Speaker(s): 
Alessandro Stanziani (EHESS)
Event date: 
Thursday, 24 September 2015 - 1:00am
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