NEWS from the BCDSS

One released, one forthcoming: Volumes 7 & 8 of the BCDSS book series "Dependency and Slavery Studies"

We are pleased to announce two new additions to our book series. 


Volume 7: Current Trends in Slavery Studies in Brazil

This volume, edited by Prof. Dr. Stephan Conermann, Mariana Armond Dias Paes, Roberto Hofmeister Pich, and Paulo Cruz Terra, provides valuable insights into current trends in Brazilian slavery studies. In their articles, the authors demonstrate that the Atlantic slave trade to Brazil was unparalleled in the Americas, with over 4 million slaves brought from Africa to Brazil between 1530 and 1888, comprising 40% of all Africans transported to the continent. This massive influx has resulted in Brazil having a larger African-descended population than many African countries. Consequently, Slavery Studies have become a prominent field in Brazilian historiography, exploring topics such as slave agency, the legal and economic aspects of slavery, family dynamics, demographics, the transatlantic slave trade, abolition, and more. Recent research has expanded to cover illegal enslavement, global perspectives, gender, diverse social groups' involvement in the abolitionist movement, and Atlantic connections.

Download Volume 7 via Open Access


Volume 8 (forthcoming, expected July 2023): Naming, Defining, Phrasing Strong Asymmetrical Dependencies: A Textual Approach

Edited by Jeannine Bischoff, Prof. Dr. Stephan Conermann and Porf. Dr. Marion Gymnich, this volume explores the terminology used in historical contexts to describe individuals in positions of strong asymmetrical dependency, shedding light on social interactions. It analyzes narratives that either justify or challenge dependency and uncovers its presence in historical discourses. With contributions from various disciplines, including theology, global history, and legal history, the authors examine diverse textual sources and historical contexts – from medieval Scandinavia to contemporary human rights violations. In doing so, the articles of this volume contribute to Dependency Studies as a transdisciplinary approach to a deeper understanding of societies throughout history.

Announcement of Volume 8 on the homepage of De Gruyter

Now released: Volumes 5 & 6 of the BCDSS book series "Dependency and Slavery Studies"

We are pleased to announce the publication of two more volumes in our book series.


Volume 5: Embodied Dependencies and Freedoms: Artistic Communities and Patronage in Asia

This volume, edited by Prof. Dr. Julia A. B. Hegewald, discusses the interconnectivity of dependencies and creativity in the field of Asian art and architecture, challenging the idea that the arts are completely free from reliance. The 13 chapters written by experts in the field illustrate how material artefacts and structures are dependent on factors such as climate, resources, social and religious traditions, and donors, with gender and labor also playing a role. Despite these dependencies, artists have been able to express their own imagination and originality, highlighting the complex and multifaceted nature of the relationship between dependencies and freedoms. 

Download Volume 5 via Open Access


Volume 6: The Position of Roman Slaves: Social Realities and Legal Differences

Edited by Prof. Dr. Martin Schermaier, this volume explores the diversity of Roman slavery, challenging the assumption that all slaves were objects without rights and arguing that Roman slavery was more complex than this stereotype. In their articles, the authors discuss how legal texts reflected social differences within the servile community and whether the legal system reinforced social differentiation or generated privileges for specific groups of slaves. In doing so, they aim to challenge the homogeneous image of Roman slave law and demonstrate that it was more colorful than previously assumed. Moreover, the authors hope to make this legal diversity accessible to historical scholarship.

Download Volume 6 via Open Access

Euthenia Fellowship Program

We are proud to announce a new fellowship program at the BCDSS.

The BCDSS Blog is here!

Exciting news! The BCDSS Blog is now live, and we're thrilled to share our inaugural post with you.

Child Labor / Kinderarbeit - Wissenschaftsrallye for 13-17 year-olds

BCDSS Professor Claudia Jarzebowski and student assistant Tobias Happ, together with the BCDSS PR Team, have designed a 15 minute "pop-up lesson" on the history of child labor in the 19th century as part of this year's Wissenschaftsrallye.

24 May - Dies Academicus: Lectures by Prof. Zeuske/Dr. Voss and Prof. Berges

At this year’s Dies Academicus, there will be two public lectures by BCDSS members. 

Panel discussion "Diversity in German Academia"

We're kindly inviting you to our event co-organized with the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Unit.

KidsBox - new flexible childcare facility

We would like to draw attention to this new free flexible childcare equipment offered by the Gender Equality office at Bonn University as part of their childcare services.

The KidsBox might be a real help for some of our BCDSS members with children, including staff, international fellows, and students. It could come in especially handy for anyone who has just moved to Bonn as it can help you settle in and save money.  

Inaugural Lecture by Claudia Jarzebowski

As part of the Joseph C. Miller Memorial Lectures series, Prof. Dr. Claudia Jarzewoski will be looking at children's lives under the circumstances of enslavement and strong asymmetrical dependency.

Introduction by Cluster speaker Prof. Dr. Stephan Conermann.

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

March 25th is International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. We would like to draw your attention to a selection of recent scholarly work and activities carried out here at the BCDSS.

Check out the upcoming lectures between April and June 2023

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 between April and June!

In The Routledge History of Loneliness

Published in The Routledge History of Loneliness

Edited By Katie Barclay, Elaine Chalus, Deborah Simonton.

In this chapter Dr. Jennifer Leetsch interweaves the subject of loneliness with an example of early-19th-century Black life-writing, the slave narrative The History of Mary Prince (1831), the first Black life narrative by a woman published in Britain, at a time of immense social rupture and change effected by anti-slavery and abolitionist politics. Locating the intersections of displacement and community in slavery life-writing across the Black Atlantic, this literary analysis contrasts the many contested communities at work in Prince’s text with the loneliness of her experiences in, through and after slavery. The chapter argues that loneliness, fragmentation and separation are fundamentally part of the slave narrative, just as much as the existence and continual rearticulation of Black community and solidarity. By focusing on loneliness as a condition constitutive of the genre, the chapter excavates the dynamics between the intimate feelings of loneliness, social isolation and systemic alienation as experienced by enslaved people, as well as inconspicuous yet wilful forms of community-building and acts of care that are activated in relation to and articulated through experiences of oppression, dehumanisation and objectification.

Download the full Chapter here

CfP: Contributions to a Special Issue of Journal of Global Slavery

Without an analysis of enslavement at the very centre of its operation, can the study of fashion ever really be critical? Can it contemplate how fashion commodities, communication, and experience actually contribute to our cultural life?

For this Special Issue, we invite submissions of 6,000 word papers on any relevant period of history or on contemporary sources and situations. 500-1,000 word reviews of relevant scholarly publications or cultural work are also of interest.

We are particularly interested in scholarly work that explores clearly defined and contextualised instances of asymmetric dependency (as opposed to generalised or decontextualized fashion images/communication about enslavement etc). BCDSS referee the submissions and will offer translation support where necessary. Articles to be published in this JGS’s special issue must not consist of previously published scholarly work.

New Dissertation by Dr. Eva Marie Lehner

We are pleased to congratulate our BCDSS Researcher Dr. Eva Marie Lehner on the publication of her dissertation! 

"Taufe – Ehe – Tod. Praktiken des Verzeichnens in frühneuzeitlichen Kirchenbüchern"

(Baptism – Marriage – Death. Practices of indexing in early modern Church records)

With the recording of all baptisms, weddings and funerals, pastors created the first civil registers of their parishes in the 16th century.

in Formative Modernities in the Early Modern Atlantic and Beyond. Identities, Polities and Glocal Economies

Founded in 1713, the Königliches Lagerhaus Berlin produced several types of woolen cloth—prominently among them, uniforms for the growing Prussian army. It was one of the kingdom’s largest and most important manufactories. 

Out now: The Analytical Concept of Asymmetrical Dependency

Published in the Journal of Global Slavery, 8 (1), "The Analytical Concept of Asymmetrical Dependency" is an update of the BCDSS Concept Paper "On Asymmetrical Dependency" (2021).

Christian Laes: On disabled emperors and common people

Our Senior Fellow Christian Laes researches families, children, sexuality, and disabilities in Antiquity.

International Women's Day

Today, at International Women's Day, we celebrate the countless women who have fought tirelessly for Equality, Justice and Freedom.

New Article!

By Doctoral Researcher Anas Ansar (BCDSS) and Abu Faisal Md. Khaled 

BCDSS Conversation 1: On Comparison and the Use of Theory

As part of the BCDSS Publishing series, the "Discussion Papers" generate a dialogue about the theoretical side of “strong asymmetrical dependency.”

In this new publication, members of the BCDSS discussed different concepts in an informal and open format. Participants were asked to reflect on the meaningfulness, the methods and the feasibility of comparison and the use of theory in their work (and especially in interdisciplinary projects).

One year since the start of the War in Ukraine

The BCDSS endorses the statement published by the Cologne/Bonn Academy in Exile (CBA) on the occasion of the first anniversary of the start of the War in Ukraine.

CfP Special Issue: Indentured Bodies / Embodiments of Indenture

Selected contributions will be published open access in the Journal of Indentureship and its Legacies (Pluto Journals) in the special issue ‘Indentured Bodies / Embodiments of Indenture’ in December 2024, edited by Sinah Kloß and Jennifer Leetsch.

Call for Papers: Households as Coercive Labour Regimes

International Conference on November 2-3, 2023, by the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), University of Bonn, Germany, and the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The conference is organized by Stephan Conermann, Karin Hofmeester, Ulbe Bosma and Matthias van Rossum.

How some enslaved Black people stayed in Southern slaveholding states – and found freedom

BCDSS Postdoctoral Researcher Viola Müller has just published her article "How some enslaved Black people stayed in Southern slaveholding states – and found freedom" about fugitive slaves in cities of the US South as a parallel story to the much better known Underground Railroad.

To read the full article, click here.

Deadline extended! Call for Papers: Archaeologies of Dependency in Latin America

The deadline is extended to March 1st, 2023, to submit an abstract for the international conference on September 7–8, 2023 at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, organized by the research group The Archaeology of Dependency (ArchDepth): Resources, Power and Status Differentiation (Christian Mader, Claire Conrad, and Tamia Viteri Toledo).

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