World of Roman Bonn
Dependencies and Opportunities 2000 years ago
Thematic focus of 2023/24
On Gender and Intersectionality
World of Roman Bonn
Thematic focus of 2023/24

Welcome to the Cluster of Excellence at the  
Bonn Center for Dependency & Slavery Studies

"Beyond Slavery and Freedom:
Asymmetrical Dependencies in Pre-Modern Societies" 

We are a research cluster within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments.

We investigate profound social dependencies such as slavery, serfdom, debt bondage, and other forms of permanent dependency across epochs, regions and cultures. 

Our focus lies "beyond slavery and freedom", i.e. we aim to overcome the binary opposition of "free" and "unfree".

Instead, we propose the new key concept of "asymmetrical dependency" to explore all forms of bondages across time and space.      

Reading & Discussion with Anne Haeming

Video out now! 
The Life of Wilhelm Joest

Watch our short clip about the reading and discussion with Anne Haeming as part of our (UN)ABHÄNGIGE ANSICHTEN series from 15 February 2024.

Anne Haeming was queried on the challenges of writing about an imperial actor like Wilhelm Joest from today's perspective.  

New Article by Dr. Josef Köstlbauer

 "Magdalena More's Complaint." In Journal of Moravian History

Maroon Ecologies, Maroon Imaginaries

This workshop traces alternative Maroon worlds and worldviews along two specific lines of inquiry, ecology and imagination. Convening scholars from across disciplines (including geography, archaeology, anthropology, literary history and sound studies), we will probe the different environmental and cultural contexts of Marronage. Our goal is to engage with Marronage as an ecological, political and creative practice, underlining how Black ways of engaging with the environment provide a conceptual and practical reorientation to anthropogenic climate change.

THE EMPTY GRAVE: Film Screening & Discussion

We are carrying on with the "WHO'S GOT THE POWER?" series in cooperation with Förderverein Filmkultur at Brotfabrik, Bonn!

Our second film this year, THE EMPTY GRAVE (original: 'DAS LEERE GRAB'), a German-Tanzanian co-production by Agnes Lisa Wegner and Cece Mlay, was launched at the Berlinale Film Festival earlier this year. It addresses the legacy of the German colonial rule in Tanzania: the search for the physical remains of family members, the intergenerational trauma, the quest for justice, the question of future coexistence.

Everyone is warmly welcome to join us for the post-screening talk and reception with drinks and fingerfood in the informal setting of Studio 5.

On the panel representing the BCDSS:

Mary Aderonke Afolabi-Adeolu, PhD Researcher
Boluwatife Akinro, PhD Researcher
Dr. Mercy Mashingaidze, Postdoctoral Researcher & Lecturer

TIME: 4 July 2024
20:00: Screening
21:30: Discussion/Reception

LOCATION: Kino in der Brotfabrik, Kreuzstraße 16, 53225 Bonn
REGISTRATION: To help us plan, kindly register for the discussion/reception by 3 July (below).

New Article by David B. Smith

Congratulations to PhD Researcher David B. Smith, whose article "'An Open Wound in the Body…' A 'Dependency Turn' in Ecumenical Discourse on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery" has just been published in The Ecumenical Review.

New Website: World of Roman Bonn

We are pleased to announce that our Tour of Roman Bonn now has its own website - the World of Roman Bonn!

World Day Against Child Labour

June 12 marks the 'World Day Against Child Labor'. It aims to catalyze the growing global effort to eliminate child labor.

Roundtable Discussion: “The Visual Archives of Slavery: Legacies, Practices and Debates”

Researchers at the BCDSS work with and on visual material in their research on slaveries and dependencies. In this roundtable, a curator, an artist, and several researchers from the BCDSS will talk about visuality and dependency.

Workshop: Maroon Ecologies, Maroon Imaginaries
Niebuhrstraße 5, 53113 ...
09:00 AM
This workshop traces alternative Maroon worlds and worldviews along two specific lines of inquiry, ecology and imagination. Convening scholars from across ...
Children, Dependency, and Emotions in the Early Modern World
Rabinstraße 8, 53111 Bonn
11:00 AM
Conference: "Children, Dependency, and Emotions in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800: Archival and Visual Narratives" Throughout history children have been ...

Contact Us

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS)

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Managing Director: Jeannine Bischoff

Press and PR Manager: Cécile Jeblawei


University of Bonn
Niebuhrstraße 5
53113 Bonn  

BCDSS Fellowship Programs


University of Bonn
Heussallee 18–24
53113 Bonn

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