All New Items

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. 

BCDSS Contributes to Issue 5 of Spiegel Geschichte

Spiegel Geschichte has dedicated a whole issue to "Sklaverei - Wie Menschen zur Ware wurden".

Michael Zeuske, Senior Research Professor at the BCDSS, and Rebekka von Mallinckrodt, Professor of Early Modern History at University of Bremen and member of the BCDSS International Advisory Board, contributed to the chapter on research (pp. 22 - 31).

Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lectures - Autumn Overview

We regularly invite renowned international scholars from across the world to present their ongoing research related to asymmetrical dependency and slavery. In return we offer the possibility to publish a revised version of their lectures as part of our Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture Publications.

See what's coming up this autumn!

Viola Franziska Müller's new book is out!

Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Viola Franziska Müller's new book is out! Escape to the City examines runaways who camouflaged themselves among the free Black populations in Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, and Richmond.

New book by Pia Wiegmink

The new book "Abolitionist Cosmopolitanism" by Cluster Professor Dr. Pia Wiegmink has been published by Brill!

Julia Hillner's book "Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity" now out in paperback

"Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity" by Cluster Professor Dr. Julia Hillner was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015 and is now available in paperback. So what is the link to dependency and slavery?

Why Diversity Matters in Research and Development

All welcome!

The lecture will take place Sep. 15, 2022, from 10-12 CET, at the BCDSS conference room (0.018), Niebuhrstr. 5, 55113 Bonn (coffee included!). Alternatively you can join via Zoom (details below).

Conference: Transforming Spirit Bodies

September 29-30, 2022

Register by: September 15, 2022

Organized by Research Group “Marking Power: Embodied Dependencies, Haptic Regimes and Body Modification” (Sinah Kloß, Lena Muders, Taynã Tagliati), Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), and kindly supported by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung

Venue: Bonner Universitätsforum, Heussallee 18-24, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Keynote Lecture: Luiz Costa (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Kanamari Shamanism and Relations of Dependency across Generations

Panel I – Religion & Healing
Panel II – History and Memory
Panel III – Ecology & Shared World 
Panel IV – Production & Objects

Annual Conference “Norms, Institutions and Practices of Dependency"

This year's Annual Conference is dedicated to Research Area C: Norms, Institutions, and Practices of Dependency.

It is organized by Research Area C members Josef Köstlbauer, Martin Schermaier, Julia Winnebeck and takes place on September 21-22, 2022.

Please register by September 9, 2022.

Location: Hybrid event: online via zoom and onsite at the BCDSS premises in Heussallee 18-24, 53113 Bonn.

Vacancies for two Website and Social Media Assistants to start in September

They will join the Press and PR Team, consisting of the Press and PR Manager and the above two web and social media assistants. 

Autumn School – November 2-4, 2022

The Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies at Bonn University (BCDSS) and the Netherlands Interuniversity School of Islamic Studies (NISIS) are inviting abstracts for an Autumn School, aimed at Master-level and PhD researchers, on the theme of “Coercion, slavery, and relations of dependency in the Islamicate world”, to be held at Bonn University from 31 October to 4 November 2022.

Please register for the Autumn School via or via this form. The registration deadline is on the 16th of September 2022.

For NISIS-members, we aim to make a number of travel and accommodation funds available. For select non-members, we also expect to be able to fund some expenses. Please contact us via for more details.

SEHEPUNKTE June 2022 issue: Slavery in the Context of the Ottoman Empire in Ten Contributions

Recent Research on Slavery and Other Forms of Strong Asymmetric Dependence VI: The Ottoman Empire, edited by the Ottoman Slavery Forum led by Veruschka Wagner.

30 June: We the Cimarróns - Film by award winning director and BCDSS fellow Emma Christopher

Join the screening of We the Cimarróns on Thursday, 30 June 2022, at 20:00 CET by award winning director and BCDSS fellow Emma Christopher. This is the second film in our dependency-related film series cooperation "Who's Got the Power" with Förderverein Filmkultur Bonn

At the post-screening talk, we will get a chance to listen to Emma, the director/producer, as well as Garciano and Efrén, two Yurumanguireño leaders featured in the film. They will provide us with an insight into the making of the film and give us their personal accounts of the threats that the Yurumangui community, descendents of enslaved people from West Africa, is facing today.

To round off the evening: Join our RECEPTION at the cinema foyer for some further talks and networking.

Please scroll down for more details (trailer, tickets, registration). 

“Reshaping Freedom: Harriet Tubman's Abolitionism and the Path to Citizenship”

Join the 2022 Juneteenth Lecture “Reshaping Freedom: Harriet Tubman's Abolitionism and the Path to Citizenship” given by Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens on June 22, 2022 at AmerikaHaus NRW, in cooperation with the Bonn Center for Dependendy and Slavery Studies, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Research Unit Voluntariness Erfurt|Jena|Oldenburg.

As a historian of slavery and medicine, drawing on the the life of freedom-fighting abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens explores how both freedom and citizenship functioned in the lives of antebellum-era African Americans when most were considered chattel and ineligible for the rights of citizenship. Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens holds the Linda and Charles Wilson Professorship in the History of Medicine, and is Director of the Humanities in Medicine program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Wednesday, June 22nd 6p.m. at Niebuhrstraße 5, 53113 Bonn, and via Zoom.

Iris Därmann: Reading and Discussion (in German)

Wir freuen uns, am Montag, dem 4. Juli 2022, die Kulturwissenschaftlerin und Philosophin IRIS DÄRMANN anlässlich einer Lesung bei uns zu Gast zu haben. Frau Därmann, Professorin für Kulturtheorie und Kulturästhetik an der Humboldt-Universität Berlin, wird im Festsaal der Universität Bonn zwei Passagen aus ihrem Buch Undienlichkeit, Gewaltgeschichte und Politische Philosophie (Matthes und Seitz, Berlin 2020) vorstellen.

On Monday, 4 July 2022, we have the pleasure of hosting a reading by cultural studies and philosophy scholar IRIS DÄRMANN. Iris Därmann, Professor of Cultural Theory & Cultural Aesthetics at Humboldt University Berlin, will present passages from her book Undienlichkeit, Gewaltgeschichte und Politische Philosophie (Matthes und Seitz, Berlin 2020) at the Festsaal of the University of Bonn.

Im Anschluss an die Lesung werden zwei Vertreter*innen der Universität Bonn, BIRGIT MÜNCH (BCDSS Investigator, Professorin für Kunstgeschichte und Prorektorin für Internationales) und CHRISTOPH ANTWEILER (Professor für Südostasienwissenschaften und BCDSS Principal Investigator) sie zu ihrer Sicht auf die Geschichte der Gewalt befragen. KONRAD VÖSSING, Professor für Alte Geschichte und BCDSS Co-Sprecher, wird durch die Diskussion führen. Das Publikum ist herzlich eingeladen sich zu beteiligen. Kenntnis des Buches wird nicht vorausgesetzt! Im Anschluss an die Lesung findet ab ca. 19:30 Uhr ein Empfang statt, zu dem alle Teilnehmer*innen herzlich eingeladen sind. Wir freuen uns auf einen regen Austausch!

Following the reading, two representatives of Bonn University, BIRGIT MÜNCH (BCDSS Investigator, Professor of Art History and Vice Rector for International Affairs) and CHRISTOPH ANTWEILER (Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and BCDSS Principal Investigator) will question Iris Därmann on her view of the history of violence. KONRAD VÖSSING, Professor of Ancient History and BCDSS Co-Speaker, will lead through the discussion. The audience is very welcome to participate. Knowledge of the book is not a prerequisite! The reading will be followed by a reception starting at around 7:30pm, to which all participants are cordially invited. We look forward to a lively exchange!

Time / Uhrzeit:
04.07.2022,  18:15 - 21:00 CET

Location / Ort:
Festsaal, Universität Bonn, Am Hof 1, 53113 Bonn

Booking / Reservierung:
To secure a place for the reading and reception please register by email (with your name and email address) to:
Zur Platzreservierung für Lesung und Empfang bitten wir um Registrierung per Email (mit Angabe des Namens und Emailadresse):

DIVERSITY: Why Dependency and Slavery Studies Matter

BCDSS showcases exemplary research by four PhD researchers.

Diversity plays a major role at the BCDSS. It is not only an integral part of the cluster's third mission, assuring that diversity is firmly based in the cluster's administrative and teaching set-up. Equally importantly, the topic of diversity is widely explored through research. To illustrate this, the cluster's diversity working group presented a poster to the Rector of the University of Bonn and further University representatives on the eve of the International Diversity Day (30 May 2022). It showcases various aspects of diversity within dependency and slavery studies, represented by four of our PhD researchers:

Luvena Kopp looks at Spike Lee’s cinematic representation of the legacy of slavery in current U.S. social relations.

Mary Aderonke Afolabi-Adeolu explores slavery in selected narratives of Nineteenth-Century recaptured West Africans.

Giulia Cappucci investigates female slave owners and enslaved women in the Ancient Roman household.

Susana Macías Pascua examines the enduring antagonisms experienced by Spanish "Gitanos" in history.


New Perspectives on Cultural Heritage and German Global History

The international conference takes place on July 6–8, 2022 at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies. It is jointly organized by Claudia Jarzebowski, BCDSS, and Pia Wiegmink, BCDSS, Susanne Lettow (FU Berlin) and Heike Raphael-Hernandez (University of Würzburg).

Please register via mail by 1 July 2022.
Contact: Gular Bayramli

Check out Jennifer Morgan's Keynote Speech on YouTube.

Wissenschaftsrallye 2022 für Schülerinnen und Schüler (13-17 Jahre)

Das BCDSS nimmt am 7. Mai 2022 von 10h-15h wieder an der Wissenschaftsrallye der Universität Bonn teil! Dieses Jahr geht es um den Zusammenhang von Zucker und Sklaverei.

Dies Academicus - Public Lecture by Christoph Antweiler

Christoph Antweiler will address questions of "Human Norms in the Anthropocene" as part of the DIES ACADEMICUS on 18 May 2022.

Application period for Master's Programs about to start

For both, the one-year and the two-year programs, we accept applications between 9-31 May 2022 for national and international applicants and between 22-29 August 2022 for national applicants only.

The one-year Master's program in "Slavery Studies" is offered to students who have completed a four-year BA program (240 ECTS points). The two-year Master's program in "Dependency and Slavery Studies" is open to those who hold a three-year bachelor degree (180 ECTS points). 

Select News or Events
Socare Junior Conference 2022

October 20th - October 22nd 

Whose knowledge is recognized, and what voices are heard within Caribbean studies? This conference focuses on how knowledge is produced, shared, and received, and on what changes are needed to ensure that power is shared, while epistemic differences are included and valued.

Julia Hillner's book "Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity" now out in paperback

"Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity" by Cluster Professor Dr. Julia Hillner was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015 and is now available in paperback. So what is the link to dependency and slavery?

Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Claudia Jarzebowski
Online via Zoom & On ...
04:15 - 06:00
Claudia Jarzebowski is a historian of early modern history and a professor at the BCDSS. Her expertise includes the history of childhood and emotion, kinship ...
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 ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Timothy J. Coates
Online via Zoom
04:15 - 06:00
The town of Castro Marim in Portugal was a legal haven and later the site of internal exile for several thousand minor sinners and convicts from the Middle ...
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 ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy
Hybrid event
04:15 - 06:00
This talk derives from Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy’s award-winning book, Between Fitness and Death: Disability and Slavery in the Caribbean (University of Illinois ...
International Conference: Social History of Capitalism
Online via Zoom
The International Social History Association (ISHA), the Bonn Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), and the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations ...
International Conference: Social History of Capitalism
Online via Zoom
The International Social History Association (ISHA), the Bonn Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), and the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Romina Zamora
Online via Zoom
04:15 - 06:00
Discussing the slavery and indigenous servitude in the southern Andes, the lecture will focus on three main points. The first is the conceptual distinction ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Dan-el Padilla Peralta
Online via zoom
04:00 - 06:00
Everyone is welcome to join this public lecture online via zoom! The abstract is due any time soon.
Cancelled: Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Stefan Talmon
Online via Zoom
04:00 - 06:00
We regret to say that this lecture was cancelled. It will be re-scheduled in due course. Sorry for any inconvenience! The lecture traces public international ...
Annual Conference “Norms, Institutions & Practices of Dependency"
Hybrid event: online via ...
Since 2018, the Bonn Center of Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) unites internationally renowned scholars researching historic forms of strong ...
Joseph C. Miller Lecture by Alexander Geurds
Online via zoom
04:15 - 06:00
Archaeological views onto the later pre-Columbian past of southern Central America –roughly defined as including Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, but ...
Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lecture by Mark Hauser
Online via zoom
04:15 - 06:00
Extreme weather events, changing precipitation, and sea-level rise have made thosecliving in the global north more mindful of the vulnerability of lives and ...
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