When and Where: 4th April 2019, 10-12am Elise-Richter-Saal, 1.30-6.30pm Erika-Weinzierl-Saal, Hauptgebäude Universität Wien.
In the past twenty years, the foundational narratives of the modern West have been challenged in many ways. One key aspect of the making of the modern West was the rise of the conceptual pair “freedom” vs. “slavery”. French revolutionists and philosophers of the Enlightenment proclaimed “freedom” to be one of the most important universal values of mankind, while using “slavery” as an episteme to condemn all sorts of unjust power relations. Up to today, “slavery” is often associated with pre-modern societies, authoritarian rule, and economic backwardness, while “freedom” is linked to modern democracies and capitalist societies. And for a long period of time, “slavery” was used to bring to mind primarily the successful abolition of the transatlantic form of slavery by the modern West, with its conceptual basis in Roman law and the Christian tradition, which was regarded as the “theoretical subject” (D. Chakrabarty), the master narrative of all histories of slavery.
In this one-day workshop, organised by the Forschungsschwerpunkt Globalgeschichte, we discuss new conceptual ideas and empirical insights for an alternative understanding of the plurality of slaveries and slaving practices world-wide and throughout history. The theoretical approach of the Brazilian anthropologist Cláudio Costa Pinheiro (Rio de Janeiro) will be put in a dialogue with findings from case studies on First Millennium BCE Babylonia, Medieval Yemen, the early modern Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and contemporary Brazil. The event ends with a commented screening of the documentary “Mulaqat”, directed by Cláudio Costa Pinheiro.
In preparation for the discussion, a reader will be sent to the participants. The workshop will be held in English.