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Slavery in Europe’s Frontier Zones 1300-1800: Networks, Knowledge and Labour

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.

Description

In the medieval and early modern periods, captive-taking and enslavement were common all around the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and East-Central Europe. The larger theme of slavery in the frontier zones of medieval and early modern Europe has raised important historiographical debates about the nature and causes of this type of slavery, the differences and similarities with slavery in other periods and areas, and the organization of the sea and land raids that led to the capture of human beings with the purpose of putting them up for ransom, sale, or forced labor. Recently, historians have begun to explore the established ties with the world of professionals, scientists, notaries, medical practioners and brokers in the slave trade, applying shared knowledge systems. They are laying bare the indebtedness of universities’ and natural sciences’ development to slave trade networks, and the use of the bodies of the enslaved as sites of knowledge. Such new approaches give insight in how the slave trade was in fact closely integrated in economic and knowledge systems that subsequently were extended across the Atlantic.

In our discussions, we will examine to the phenomenon of slavery between 1300 and 1800 with a focus on the following areas: the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, the Mamluk Sultanate, the wider Ottoman world (including Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli from the second half of the sixteenth century), the Black Sea region (especially Crimea) and east-central Europe (especially Muscovy and Poland-Lithuania). During this course, the students will be encouraged to engage with current debates in slavery studies and raise their own questions about the topic while writing a research paper based on primary sources.

The literature used in this course is mostly written in English; primary sources are available in many European languages, including Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, but also English, Dutch, etc. (depending on the focus of your own research project).

Prior to the first meeting of the course there will be an entry test based on the following literature:

  • Barker, Hannah, That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves (Philadephia, 2019).

  • Davis, Robert C., Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Basingstoke 2003).

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

The student has acquired:

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the specialisation or subtrack as well as of the historiography of the specialisation Europe 1000-1800, with a particular focus on the broader processes of political, social and cultural identity formation between about 1000-1800; awareness of problems of periodisation and impact of ‘national’ historiographical traditions on the field.

    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation Europe 1000-1800, with a particular focus on the ability to analyse and evaluate primary sources from the period, if necessary with the aid of modern translations; ability to make use of relevant methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis to interpret sources in their textual and historical context.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) Will get a general view of historiography on medieval and early modern slavery in Europe’s frontier zones, including the latest debates and developments in the field, and the main concepts used.

  • 14) Will develop the ability to conduct original research on a topic pertaining to the field on the basis of primary source material.

  • 15) (ResMA only): – ResMA students will be able to critically reflect on and engage with the more theoretical debates as well as the interdisciplinarity currently present in the field of slavery studies.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the MA History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Written paper (6500-7500 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8, 11-12, 13-15

  • Entry test
    measured learning objectives: 4, 13-15

  • Oral presentation
    measured learning objectives: 3-9

  • Weekly assignments (QUARPS)
    measured learning objectives: 4, 8, 13

Weighing

  • Written paper: 70%

  • Oral presentation: 10%

  • Weekly assignments (QUARPS): 10%

  • Participation: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient.

Deadlines

Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.

Resit

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.

Reading list

To read before the beginning of the course:

  • Barker, Hannah, That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves* (Philadephia, 2019)

  • Davis, Robert C., Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Basingstoke 2003).

The rest of the readings will be indicated in the course schedule and are available online or in the university library.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in [English])http://hum.leiden.edu/students/study-administration/usis-english.html) and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. C. Weeda Dr. F. Roșu

Remarks

None.