“…(Women & Slavery, Volume 1 clearly demonstrates that far from simply being a by-product of a trade in male slaves, in many societies women were the prime focus of the slave trade.…”
Africa: The Journal of the IAI
“The geographic and methodological diversity of the chapters constitute one of the collection’s salient appeals.… The two volumes challenge us to reconsider women and slavery and appreciate the strongly gendered nature of servitude in world history.”
African Studies Review
“Women and Slavery: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic offers an exciting addition to the scholarship on gender and slavery. Students and professors alike will find this volume provocative and useful in examining the role of women in slavery and slave trades.… This collection, and its sister publication, Women and Slavery: The Modern Atlantic, by the same editors, work masterfully together and could serve as the basis for an entire course on women and slavery.”
International Journal of African Historical Studies
“All these contributions broaden and deepen the historian’s craft as well as our understanding of the gendered nature of slave-life in each instance. We learn of queens and thralls struggling to survive, of the lives of slave-washerwomen, and the significance of ‘maturity’ among female slaves…. Measured in terms of (Sue Miers’s) own career, this volume shows just what a long way the historiography of Africanist slavery has come and where it yet needs to go.”
Slavery and Abolition
The literature on women enslaved around the world has grown rapidly in the last ten years, evidencing strong interest in the subject across a range of academic disciplines. Until Women and Slavery, no single collection has focused on female slaves who—as these two volumes reveal—probably constituted the considerable majority of those enslaved in Africa, Asia, and Europe over several millennia and who accounted for a greater proportion of the enslaved in the Americas than is customarily acknowledged.
Women enslaved in the Americas came to bear highly gendered reputations among whites—as “scheming Jezebels,” ample and devoted “mammies,” or suffering victims of white male brutality and sexual abuse—that revealed more about the psychology of enslaving than about the courage and creativity of the women enslaved. These strong images of modern New World slavery contrast with the equally expressive virtual invisibility of the women enslaved in the Old—concealed in harems, represented to meddling colonial rulers as “wives” and “nieces,” taken into African families and kin-groups in subtlely nuanced fashion.
Women and Slavery presents papers developed from an international conference organized by Gwyn Campbell.
Volume 1 Contributors
Richard B. Allen
Philip J. Havik
Elizabeth Grzymala Jordan
Martin A. Klein
George Michael La Rue
Paul E. Lovejoy
Kirsten A. Seaver
Gwyn Campbell, Canada Research Chair in Indian Ocean World History at McGill University, is the author and editor of many works, including Abolition and Its Aftermath in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia and An Economic History of Imperial Madagascar. More info →
Suzanne Miers is professor emerita of history at Ohio University. She is the author of Slavery in the Twentieth Century and coeditor of The End of Slavery and other books. More info →
Joseph C. Miller is the T. Cary Johnson, Jr. Professor of history at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Kings and Kinsmen, Way of Death, and works on the world history of slavery. More info →
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While most studies of the slave trade focus on the volume of captives and on their ethnic origins, the question of how the Africans organized their familial and communal lives to resist and assail it has not received adequate attention. But our picture of the slave trade is incomplete without an examination of the ways in which men and women responded to the threat and reality of enslavement and deportation.
Significant numbers of the people enslaved throughout world history have been children. The vast literature on slavery has grown to include most of the history of this ubiquitous practice, but nearly all of it concentrates on the adult males whose strong bodies and laboring capacities preoccupied the masters of the modern Americas.
The literature on women enslaved around the world has grown rapidly in the last ten years, evidencing strong interest in the subject across a range of academic disciplines.
The abolition of the slave trade is normally understood to be the singular achievement of eighteenth-century British liberalism. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa, and the Atlantic expands both the temporal and the geographic framework in which the history of abolitionism is conceived.