NEWS from the BCDSS

Out Now: Volume 9 of the BCDSS book series "Dependency and Slavery Studies"

Congratulations to BCDSS Speaker Prof. Dr. Stephan Conermann as well as Prof. Dr. Youval Rotman, Prof. Dr. Ehud R. Toledano, and Prof. Dr. Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz (Tel Aviv University, Israel) on the publication of their edited volume Comparative and Global Framing of Enslavement

This volume explores new perspectives that comprise both historical and contemporary forms of slavery. This development, which could certainly be termed a turn in the study of slavery, has also led to an increased awareness of enslavement as a global phenomenon, calling for a comparative, trans-regional approach across time-space divides. Though different aspects of enslavement in different societies and eras are discussed, each of the volume’s three parts contributes to, and has benefitted from, a global perspective of enslavement. The contributions in Part One propose to structure the global examination of the theoretical, ideological, and methodological aspects of the "global," "local," and "glocal." Part Two, "Regional and Trans-regional Perspectives of the Global," presents, through analyses of historical case studies, the link between connectivity and mobility as a fundamental aspect of the globalization of enslavement. Finally, Part Three deals with personal points of view regarding the global, local, and glocal. 

Download Volume 9 via Open Access

Free Webinar "From Slavery to Freedom in the American South and Dutch Caribbean"

On Thursday, 12 October 2023 the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS) and The Netherland-America Foundation (NAF) in New York will organize a free 1-hour webinar titled “From Slavery to Freedom in the American South and Dutch Caribbean,” with renowned historians Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut) and Coen van Galen (Radboud University Nijmegen). 

Conference: Slavery and Asymmetrical Dependency in the Global History of Labor - Cienfuegos 1870-1900

Prof. Dr. Michael Zeuske will be delivering a talk at the conference that is held both in Spanish and English, and co-organized by the BCDSS.

"Tori and Lokita": Film Screening and Discussion

Join us on September 28th, 2023, for the screening and discussion of this gripping movie about two young Beninese refugees by the Dardenne Brothers, prior to its official launch in October.  

Congratulations to Julia Hillner!

Her book Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire was selected by the Heldt Prize Committee of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies as the Best Book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies (2023).

Mongolia honors Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann

Archaeologist and BCDSS Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann as well as Dr. Susanne Reichert have received outstanding awards for their long and successful research work in Mongolia. At the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia in the capital Ulaanbaatar, the State Secretary M. Batgerel conferred the Polar Star on Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jan Bemmann, the highest decoration to be awarded to foreigners. He is currently working in Mongolia as part of Research Group 5438 "Urban Influence on the Mongolian Plateau: Interconnections of Urbanism, Economy and Environment", newly approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Workshop: "Child Slaveries in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800"

Everyone is cordially invited to join our workshop, "Child Slaveries in the Early Modern
World, 1500-1800," on Wednesday, October 18 from 12:00-17:00 (CET).

Congratulations to Laurie Venters!

He has just completed his PhD at the BCDSS.

Dr. Viola Müller Awarded Veni Funding by the Dutch Research Council (NWO)

Congratulations to BCDSS postdoctoral researcher Dr. Viola Müller on being awarded a Veni grant for her research project "From Slavery to Illegality? Labor Coercion and Capitalism in the Americas, 1840-1914". Veni fundings are awarded once a year by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), one of the leading funding bodies in the Netherlands.

Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Societies

A conference jointly organized by the BCDSS and TraSIS - Trajectories of Slavery in Islamicate Societies - a project at the University of Bern.

Call for Papers: Dissertations in the field of Caribbean studies

The Society for Caribbean Research (Socare e.V.) is offering a biannual prize for dissertations in Caribbean research

Publication by BCDSS MA student Ankit Chowdhury

We'd like to congratulate Ankit Chowdhury, master’s student of Dependency and Slavery Studies at the BCDSS, on his first publication in a journal, 'Journal of People's History and Culture'.

Thursday, August 3rd, 20:00h: film screening and discussion of "Workingman's Death"

Join us this coming Thursday, August 3rd, for the screening and discussion of this deeply moving documentary by Michael Glawogger on precarious working conditions around the globe.


We are pleased to announce the release of the seventh issue of our Cluster magazine DEPENDENT, which focuses on labor history and strong asymmetrical dependencies.

Apart from an extensive interview with one of the leading experts in the field of labor history, Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Linden, the latest edition includes a number of in-depth perspectives on the topic by our scholars.

As always, the issue also provides insights into recent research trips, an overview of all the latest news and publications as well as upcoming events.

This is by far the most comprehensive issue, covering more than 90 pages.

We hope you will enjoy the read!

The magazine is available online as of now. Due to it's comprehensiveness, the printing of the issue is taking a bit longer. We will distribute the printed copies as soon as they are available.

Call for Papers: Collaborative Conference by the University of Bonn and Leiden University

Monumentality is a widely used term in archaeology, both as a descriptive category for objects and structures that stand out in landscapes, and as an interpretative category, used to theorize on the ways in which societies are organized. However, the understanding on what constitutes 'monumental' varies considerably. Large architectural structures may be the focus, whose planning, creation, and maintenance requires sophisticated technical and logistical skills and are enabled by the considerable economic resources, or sometimes referred to as XXL phenomenon (Bunke et la 2016, Gass et al 2016). Alternatively, monumentality may be understood as being generated by the very relationships between humans and the involved materials and the subsequent meaning these relationships produce (Osborne 2014, Pauketat 2014). Also, the appearance of monumentality in certain societies has been theorized to represent evidence of social stratification, as part of a society is able to mobilize others, accumulate surplus, and create lasting landscape markers which exceed narrowly-viewed practical needs (Pollock 1999, Trigger 1990). Alternatively, it has been argued that monumentality can be born out of unintended consequences (Joyce 2004) or as a result of community building processes (Notroff 2015).

Monumentality in pre-Columbian southern Central America is rarely discussed (but see Frost and Quilter 2012). Those existing studies align with the thermodynamic approach, proposed by Trigger more than 30 years ago, and arguing it to be resulting from social stratification. Some additional case studies have, more recently, observed that monumentality in Central America may be the result of communal practices (Joyce 2004, Geurds and Auziņa in press). All of this stands in contrast to studies from Eastern Mesoamerica as in, for example, the Classic Maya Lowlands where monumentality is often seen in the context of architectural taxonomies and as a theatrical backdrop to communal events, alongside being the domestic context of elites.

Check out the upcoming lectures between July and September 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 July and September!

Julia Hillner appointed new co-editor in chief of "Historische Zeitschrift"

We are very happy to share that Prof. Dr. Julia Hillner has been appointed as the co-editor in chief of the esteemed "Historische Zeitschrift," making history as the first-ever woman in this position. Established in 1859, "Historische Zeitschrift" is renowned as the world's oldest historical journal.

New Book by Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack and Prof. Dr. Ana María Presta (eds.): Repensando la sociedad colonial

Edited by BCDSS Co-Speaker and Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack and Prof. Dr. Ana María Presta, the book analyzes the colonial period in its social diversity, contextualizes the historical moment in which it emerged, and conceptualizes this era in terms of its epistemological variables. 

Paperback Edition Out Now: Beyond Exceptionalism

Edited by BCDSS Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Josef Köstlbauer, Prof. Dr. Rebekka von Mallinckrodt  and Dr. Sarah Lentz. 

New Article: "The Pre-Colonial Socio-Legal System of Ogbaland, Nigeria"

Check out BCDSS Researcher Prof. Dr. Chioma Daisy Onyiege's new article!


New Working Papers by Prof. Dr. Christian Blumenthal and Prof. Dr. Lewis Doney

Our Working Papers present results from ongoing research and contribute to current scholarly debate. They are conceptualized as “work in progress”. The aim of this publishing series is to stimulate debates on the new key concept of the Cluster, strong asymmetrical dependency. The papers are subject to an internal peer review.


New Publication: The Palgrave Handbook of Global Slavery throughout History

Congratulations to editors DAMIAN A. PARGAS and JULIANE SCHIEL for this milestone publication in Global Slavery! As one of the first of its kind, it sets new standards for slavery history writing. Among the contributors of the handbook are cluster members Dr. Emma Kalb, Dr. Josef Köstlbauer, Prof. Dr. Noel Lenski, Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack, Prof. Dr. Damian A. Pargas, Dr. Elena Smolarz, Prof. Dr. Michael Zeuske, and former fellows Prof. Dr. Trevor Burnard and Dr. Claude Chevaleyre

Juneteenth National Independence Day

Juneteenth National Independence Day is a federal holiday celebrated on June 19th in the United States. It commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the country. Juneteenth traces its roots back to June 19, 1865 and became a federal holiday in the United States through the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021. 

Julia Hegewald's Lecture at Ashmolean Musem: JAINA CULTURE IN SOUTH INDIA

Exciting Announcement! BCDSS Principal Investigator Prof. Dr. Julia Hegewald will deliver the 53rd William Cohn Lecture at the Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford).

Call for Papers - Humans as Gifts: Historical and Anthropological Approaches

Why would someone give a human being as a gift? Who are the giver and the taker? How does the gift-giving affect the life and status of the gifted human? The two-day conference "Humans as Gifts" at the University of Bonn in May 2024 will bring historians and anthropologists together to find answers to these questions.

World Day Against Child Labour

June 12 marks the World Day Against Child Labour. It aims to act as a catalyst for the expanding global effort to combat child labor. We would like to bring your focus to a variety of recent academic research conducted at the BCDSS.

New Article by Dr. Christian Mader et al. in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

"In the land of the apu: Cerro Llamocca as a sacred mountain and central place in the pre-Columbian Andes of southern Peru," published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, volume 49. 


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