Frauenmuseum Exhibition
20 November to 22 December 2022
Heinz Heinen Fellowships
Call for applications
Welcome to the BCDSS
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Frauenmuseum Exhibition
Heinz Heinen Fellowships
Welcome to the BCDSS

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 Natassa Sideri
Exhibition opening
International cooperations at the BCDSS

Debt Bondage
Watch what playwright Natassa Sideri thinks about our reading and discussion evening on her play "Gefesselt" 

Women's emanciption and Jewish assimilation
"All they wanted was to study..." exhibition opening at Frauenmuseum Bonn

International Cooperations
Spokesperson Stefan Conermann explains the role of international cooperations for the cluster

Salaam Bombay- Film screening and discussion

Join us for the screening of Salaam Bombay on November 24, 2022, at 20:00 CET!

Don't miss the after-screening talk with Sigrid Limprecht, Förderverein Filmkultur, BCDSS Professor Claudia Jarzebowski, and further members of the Cluster as well as the public!

This is the third film in our dependency-related film series cooperation "Who's Got the Power" with Förderverein Filmkultur Bonn. 

The film "Salaam Bombay" by Mira Nair, India 1988, engages with varying forms of asymmetrical relationships that are forced primarily upon children and women. They are pushed to megacity by various factors but mainly by poverty. Here, the city is not just a place of arrival, it becomes a dreamscape. People initially conceive it as a place of hope; hence the allure of (push towards) the city. However, soon after their arrival, they end up bound in extreme forms of asymmetrical relationships. i.e. brothels or slums where their lives further unravel. As a social formation, like villages, the city has its underlying logic of patriarchy and casteism which deeply structure people’s lives. The movie clearly portrays how people are forced into extreme forms of asymmetrical dependencies. Money, men, and power are inextricably connected to the lives of the socially destitute and deprivations flourish, while those on the streets become interchangeable.

Call for applications for ten fellowships for the academic year 2023/24

For the academic year of 2023/2024 the Cluster will put a thematic emphasis on Research Area E “Gender and Intersectionality”. Research Area E investigates dependencies associated with gender, sexuality, status, class, ethnicity, religion, age and other historical, anthropological, and representational aspects relevant to explaining differences among persons and human groups, both in past and present societies.

Exhibition opening "All they wanted was to study...The Numerus Clausus and the young women"

Showcasing women's fates in black-and-white photography

Together with the Frauenmuseum, we invite you to the opening of the exhibition "All they wanted was to study... The Numerus Clausus and the young women". The photo exhibition highlights young Hungarian Jewish women affected by the so-called Numerus Clausus law of 1920 and explores its impact on women's emancipation and Jewish assimilation.

Marion Gymnich and Béla Bodó will place the exhibition, which was first shown in Budapest in 2021, in the context of the cluster's dependency studies, and explain how it was adopted for the Frauenmuseum in Bonn. Visitors will then be taken on a tour of the exhibition by Judith Szapor, the curator and Associate Professor of History and Classical Studies at McGill University, Montréal.  

New DAAD-UA Grant for German-Australian collaborative project

We're delighted to announce that BCDSS Professor Claudia Jarzebowski and doctoral candidates Joseph Biggerstaff and Lisa Phongsavath, who have been awarded a fund for the German-Australian collaborative project Child Slaveries in the Early Modern World: Gender, Trauma, and Trafficking in Transcultural Perspective (1500-1800).

New Third-Party Funded Project by Julia Hillner

We're excited to share that BCDSS professor Julia Hillner has been awarded a grant by the AHRC and DFG for Connecting Late Antiquities (CLA).

Next volume of "Dependency and Slavery Studies" book series released

We are happy to announce that Christoph Witzenrath's monograph and habilitation thesis "The Russian Empire, Slaving and Liberation, 1480–1725" was recently published by De Gruyter. It is the fourth volume of the BCDSS Book series "Dependency and Slavery Studies" and available in print and via open access

First volume out and five forthcoming:

We are tremendously pleased that the first volume of our “Dependency ad Slavery Studies” (DSS) Series was published by De Gruyter earlier this month:

Jeannine Bischoff and Stephan Conermann: Slavery and Other Forms of Strong Asymmetrical Dependencies Semantics and Lexical Fields (De Gruyter, October 3, 2022)
Download as PDF via Open Access

This series is based on BCDSS research projects and aimed at a wide professional readership, the books reflect the cluster's research methods and wide-ranging interests in history, regional studies and cultural science. Manuscripts submitted for publication in the book series undergo a double-blind peer review process. The editors of this book series are Jeannine Bischoff and Stephan Conermann.

Reading and Discussion with Playwright Natassa Sideri

Join us on Monday, November 7, 2022, for a reading and discussion evening with playwright NATASSA SIDERI, whose play GEFESSELT addresses the problem of debt bondage in present-day society. 

Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Thomas Duve
Online via Zoom or ...
04:15 - 06:00
Legal historians have been researching different forms of asymmetric dependency since at least the 19th century. In most continental European research ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Alexander Keese
Online via Zoom or ...
04:15 - 06:00
European colonialism in sub-Saharan Africa relied (at least before the end of the Second World War) upon mechanisms of labour exploitation through forced ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Johannes Rainer
Via Zoom or Juridicum, ...
04:15 - 06:00
The major question will be how enfranchised slaves, the so called freedmen, could acquire the Roman citizenship. In order to understand the dynamics and ...
Exhibition opening: "The numerus clausus law and young women"
Frauenmuseum, Im ...
The event will include speeches by Prof. Dr. Marion Gymnich, Co-Speaker and Principal Investigator at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies ...
Reading & Discussion with Playwright Natassa Sideri
Festsaal, Universität ...
06:15 - 09:00
Join us on Monday, November 7, 2022, at 18:15 CET for a reading and discussion evening with playwright NATASSA SIDERI. Her award-winning play GEFESSELT ...
Salaam Bombay- Film screening and discussion
Kino in der Brotfabrik ...
The movie engages with varying forms of asymmetrical relationships that are forced primarily upon children and women. They are pushed to megacity by various ...
Socare Junior Conference 2022
Online via Zoom
Whose knowledge is recognized, and what voices are heard within Caribbean studies? This conference focuses on how knowledge is produced, shared, and received, ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by João Fragoso & Thiago Krause
Online via Zoom
04:15 - 06:00
In the next Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture on October 24, João Fragoso and Thiago Krause will do a comparative analysis of the two largest slaving ports in ...

Contact Us

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS)

Subscribe to our email list and get all of the latest news! 
The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Follow us and stay updated.


University of Bonn
Niebuhrstraße 5
53113 Bonn

Heinz Heinen Kolleg for Advanced Studies (HHK) 


University of Bonn
Heussallee 18–24
53113 Bonn

Wird geladen