The History of Slavery

A Public Symposium: 1000-1800

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served


Lisa Anderson, faculty head and associate professor, women and gender studies, School of Social Transformation, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU
Jason Bruner, assistant professor of Religious Studies, School of Historical, Philosophical, & Religious Studies, ASU
Sharonah Fredrick, assistant director, ACMRS
James Wermers, digital humanities course manager, Languages and Cultures, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and faculty fellow in the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy ASU

This interactive panel session will discuss the political forces and cynical joining of events that forged the global Medieval and Early Modern period: the Age of Empire and its economic bulwark, human slavery. The tragedy of the forced displacement and bondage of millions of human beings during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, from Europe to Africa and the Americas, involved high government administrators and mercantile interests of all continents and factions.

We will explore the personal and cultural side of this phenomenon and its effects on racial, religious, and gender relations during the period 1000-1800. The panel begins with the uniqueness of Early Modern slavery, with its difference between “civil servitude”-taking slaves as prisoners of war, and “natural servitude”-denoting an entire ethnicity as inferior and designed for political bondage. It is that second type of slavery which constitutes the horrible paradigm of the 16th and 17th centuries, and contributes to the growth of modern day racial, religious, and gender discrimination. The session will introduce new case studies regarding the impact of individual and cultural survival, and resistance strategies in the nascent colonial world.

We seek to view slavery’s many intersecting facets: color, religion, gender and class. The discussion will conclude with a discussion of slavery’s impact on contemporary conceptions of human rights and human rights activism.

ACMRS Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Kendra Bruning
A.E. England Building, Downtown Phoenix campus
Downtown Phoenix campus

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