Ruth Ennis

Fellow

University of Leipzig

ruth.ennis@uni-leipzig.de

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© Ennis Ruth

Academic Profile

Ruth Ennis is doctoral candidate at Leipzig University, where she also offers a masters seminar in “Slaveries and History” at the Global and European Studies Institute. She is a member of the Graduate School Global and Area Studies Leipzig, the European Network in Universal and Global History, as well as the Arbeitskreis Historische Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung e.V.

Situated in the nexus between Global History and Gender History, my research project examines how the concept of human trafficking emerged as a transnational problematic in the late nineteenth century. Beginning 1870 with a call against state regulated prostitution by Valerie De Gasparin, revelations of a “traite de blanches” soon triggered state and civil policing, colonial anxieties, the birth of international organisations, as well as the signing of an international agreement against the “white slave traffic” in 1904. Congealing over time into a concept, the metaphor of “white slavery” however only for a brief moment served as a critique of the State, as it was rather quickly recalibrated to reinforce the structures of this spatial format.
Taking 1870–1904 as my timeframe for analysis, a history of cultural transfers serves as a conceptual framework for reconstructing how and by whom knowledge of “white slavery” was produced, transferred and appropriated. At the same time, the relationship between popular discourses on “white slavery” and newly emerging state practices of criminology and migration control are examined; Ultimately revealing the racialised and gendered subject production of the “migration and her “trafficker” as a scholarly contribution to both Whiteness Studies and the History of Anti-Semitism.

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