Course Topic

 The purpose of this summer course for PhD students at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel is to provide solid knowledge on the legal framework and practices of slavery in Europe and the Atlantic World created by European colonization. The students will also be introduced to the debate on different forms of bondage in Asia and Africa. This comparative program will include the economic, cultural, and social impact of the enslavement of people, the lives and legacies of enslaved people, and the impact of enslaved and liberated Black people on colonial societies.

These are the questions that structure the course: What were the configurations of slavery in Europe? How did forms of bondage vary in different parts of the world? What was the role of the slave trade and slavery in the European empires? In what ways did these experiences impact values, emotions, and social perceptions? How did racial theories evolve from discriminatory practices? How did African resistance influence early abolitionism? What was the real impact of abolitionism in Europe and other parts of the world? How can we address the long-term consequences of slavery? Why is the issue of memory and restitution of objects so important nowadays?

The course will be organized over two weeks, from July 8 to 19, 2024 (arrival: Sunday, July 7, departure: Saturday, July 20, 2024). The sessions take place every morning from 9h–13h. They will comprehend an introduction to the main issues, presentation of crucial texts, and discussion.

Course sessions and teaching team

July 8, 2024, Monday. Francisco Bethencourt (King’s College London): Opening the course; main lines of enquiry on the slave trade, slavery, and racial theories.

July 9 and 10, Tuesday and Wednesday. Rebekka von Mallinckrodt (Universität Bremen): European legal and practical configurations of slavery

July 11 and 12, Thursday and Friday. Monica Gines-Blasi (École Normale Supérieure, Lyon): Different regimes and practices of bondage in Asia

July 15 and 16, Monday and Tuesday. José Lingna Nafafé (University of Bristol); Different regimes of bondage in Africa; early African abolitionist movements

July 17 and 18, Wednesday and Thursday. Chloe Ireton (University College London): Configurations of slavery in the Americas; the lives of enslaved and liberated Black people and their impact on colonial societies

July 19, Friday. Francisco Bethencourt: Conclusion of the course; long-term impact of slavery


 The Summer Course is addressed to masters and doctoral students and will be conducted in English. Mornings will be devoted to presentations by the participants and to workshops led by senior scholars in the field. Key readings will be circulated in advance. In the afternoons, participants will be able to use the holdings of the Herzog August Bibliothek for their own work and will have opportunities to hold individual or group discussions with those teaching the course.

The library offers up to fifteen places for participants and will cover their expenses for accomodation and breakfast. Each participant will receive a subsidy of 100 Euros to cover living costs. Participants are expected to pay their own travel expenses.

There are no application forms. Applicants should state their reasons for wishing to participate in the course and send a c.v. that describes their academic career and their current research. Please also supply the address of an academic referee who may be contacted to provide a reference if needed.

Address: ed.ba1701765371h@gnu1701765371hcsro1701765371f1701765371;

Deadline: 15 February 2024.