Tous les articles par Myrina Meunier


Hosted by the University of Mauritius in collaboration with the University of Birmingham

Period: April 3-20, 2018 – Collectives activities organised by SLAFNET consortium

“Rethinking Emancipation” – Between Slavery and Post Slavery

Conference April 10-12, 2018

Between Slavery and Post-slavery: Citizenship, Dependence, and Abolitionism in African and Indian Ocean Societies

Summer Institute

Hosted by the University of Mauritius in collaboration with the University of Birmingham

Period: April 3-20, 2018 – Collectives activities organised by SLAFNET consortium

“Rethinking Emancipation” – Between Slavery and Post Slavery Summer Institute

– Workshop 1 Methodological training – April 3-5, 2018 Archival sources in Portugal, Mozambique, Mauritius, UK, France, Madagascar, Holland

– Workshop 2 Theoretical training – April 5-7, 2018 Slavery in Africa: An Introduction

– Workshop 3 Technical training Inventorying – April 16-20, 2018 Inventory of Materials on Slavery and Slave trade and training in inventorying in Greenstone

Call for Contributions

 10 – 12 April 2018

Call for Contributions

Summer School in Mauritius Between Slavery and Post-slavery Citizenship, Dependence, and Abolitionism in African and Indian Ocean Societies   Problem statement

In October 2014, the international conference Slavery in Africa: Past, Legacies and Present (SLAFCO) was held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Nairobi. This three-day conference brought together over sixty scholars from all over the world and representatives of African anti-slavery NGOs and civil society organizations. Building on this first experience of exchange between researchers and activists, ‘Between Slavery and Post-Slavery’ will focus on (1) the recent legacies of past slavery; (2) contemporary forms of exploitation akin to slavery; and (3) the political mobilisation of African grassroots activists and politicians in various countries in Africa and in Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean islands.

(1) Legacies of past slavery: This workshop will explore the political and social marginalization of persons of slave descent in different African societies today. In some contexts, groups of slave descendants are classified, collectively, through labels that indicate slave origins in particular African languages. These labels have derogatory connotations and are often accompanied by ideas about the sociocultural and biogenetic inferiority of those classified as slave descendants. These groups suffer from specific vulnerabilities ranging from political exclusion and ‘second-class citizenship’, to economic exploitation and restricted opportunities for social mobility, to increased exposure to violence and exactions. Contributions focused on slave descent will study identity-based discrimination: what forms it takes and what responses it elicits in terms of resistance and grassroots activism.

(2) Slavery today: A second strand of phenomena examined here is the resilience of actual slavery, as an institution that enables control tantamount to possession over those enslaved. In spite of worldwide legal abolition, slavery has not ended. In the African continent illegal enslavement takes different forms. It can be a consequence of discrimination based on slave descent in areas where erstwhile slave-owners retained power and slave descendants remained vulnerable to extreme forms of exploitation. But slavery does not affect only persons of slave descent. Like elsewhere in the world, in Africa too, there is a persistent demand for cheap and easily controllable labour and exploitable persons. Human trafficking, especially in women and children, is well documented in different African regions and between Africa and other countries. Furthermore, recent African wars resulted in abductions and violence directed against civilians, primarily women, leading to the prosecution of perpetrators for crimes of sexual slavery. Some political movements, such as Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, openly advocate the legitimacy of slavery as an institution. Contributions focused on slavery will consider its manifestations, discourses about slavery’s (il)legitimacy, and the resistance of those enslaved or at risk of enslavement.

(3) African anti-slavery movements and grassroots activism: A third axis for reflection and discussion will focus on African anti-slavery NGOs and forms of political mobilization against slavery and the discrimination targeted at slave descendants. Some researchers described African anti-slavery NGOs as phenomena of extraversion, aimed at accessing international funding through links with ‘Western’ anti-slavery organisations. But African abolitionist movements are diverse. Some engage more with national politics than with international donors, as in the case of the Zoam Marxist movement founded by Malagasy slave descendants in the 1970s. Undoubtedly some of the main African anti-slavery NGOs benefit from the support of international anti-slavery organisations. But this does not make their struggles any less ‘real’. Their membership and opposition are national and local. Hence the question is not only whether the agenda of African anti-slavery NGOs chimes with the goals of global anti-slavery organisations: it clearly does. More specifically, we invite contributions that explore the meanings and functions of abolitionism in Africa today; the challenges identified by the leaders and grassroots members of these organisations, their driving ideas and political strategies.

Questions Slave descent, post-slavery, and classificatory slavery:

  1. Following legal abolition, what were the opportunities available to different groups of enslaved persons in different African regions and contexts?
  2. What strategies did different categories of slave descendants unfold, and why?
  3. How, if at all, did relations between former slaves and slave-owners change?
  4. Why are certain groups classified as coming ‘from slavery’, with what consequences, and giving rise to what forms of resistance and/or identity politics?
  5. How was slavery, as an institution, transformed following legal abolition? What forms of labour replaced slave labour? How were the roles of slaves in sexual, reproductive, and domestic domains reconfigured?

Slavery today:

  1. What types of slavery, if any, exist in contemporary African societies? What groups are involved? How do war and conflict influence practices of enslavement?
  2. What forms of resistance, and by which actors, does contemporary slavery gives rise to?
  3. How does the international definition of slavery, based on the 1926 Slavery Convention of the League of Nations, relate to contemporary African phenomena and national legislations?
  4. How is slavery defined and characterised in contexts marked by legal pluralism?
  5. Who, if anyone, defends the legitimacy of slavery today, through which arguments, and with what practical consequences?

African anti-slavery movements, neo-abolitionism, and grassroots activism:

  1. What forms does abolitionism take in Africa today, what practices does it give rise to, and what are the ideological roots of different African abolitionist discourses?
  2. What are the main forms of anti-slavery advocacy in Africa today (e.g. national and international NGOs, political parties, grassroots movements, religious associations, etc.)?
  3. Who becomes a member of African anti-slavery movements and why?
  4. What challenges does African anti-slavery activism face and why?
  5. How, if at all, do African abolitionist movements differ from those of African diasporas in Europe and the Americas?

Submission guidelines The organizers Vijaya Teelock (University of Mauritius) and Benedetta Rossi (University of Birmingham) welcome submissions of abstracts on the themes and questions above. We regret that we cannot provide funding for participants external to the SLAFNET Project. Please send your submission by email to Benedetta Rossi at by 30 September 2017. Submissions should include: title, abstract of 300-500 words, presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. The selection committee will make a decision on the retained abstracts by 30 October 2017.

Advanced training course

University of Birmingham, School of History and Cultures, Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA)

Period: 3-24 March 2018 – Advanced Training Course for the SLAFNET Network  

Slavery and Emancipation in 20th Century Africa   

In most of Africa slavery was only abolished at the beginning of the 20th century. Enduring legacies of slavery continue to affect social hierarchies and labor relations, and sexual slavery has been widespread in recent African wars. This course examines the history of slavery and emancipation in different African regions. It focuses on the experience of enslaved men and women. It is convened by Benedetta Rossi and consists of eight 2-hour seminars, each consisting of lecture and class-discussion on readings circulated in advance:

Monday 5 March: General introduction: periodisations, concepts, definitions

Wednesday 7 March: Early abolitions of the 19th Century

Thursday 8 March: Colonial ambivalence and struggles for emancipation, 1900-1926

Friday 9 March: Exit, voice, and loyalty: the options of (ex-)slaves, 1926-1946

Monday 12 March: End of forced labour, birth of development, and apartheid, 1946-1960

Wednesday 14 March: The rise of African abolitionism, 1960-1990

Friday 16 March: Sexual slavery and forced marriage in contemporary African wars

Wednesday 21 March: Conclusion

Other organised activities: two research methods training sessions, two public lectures, and a workshop accompany and complement the Advanced Training Course:

Tuesday 6 March: Introduction to Africa-focused library resources and databases accessible at the University of Birmingham (by Specialist Librarian); Introduction to the Cadbury Research Library and Church Missionary Society archive (by Archive Curator)

Wednesdays 7 and 14 March: public lectures by invited Africanists

Monday 19-Tueday 20: Workshop ‘Researching Slavery in Africa’ with presentations by SLAFNET researchers and other Africa focused researchers and feedback by invited specialists (Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Alice Bellagamba, Felicitas Becker, Lotte Pelckmans).  

Contact : Benedetta Rossi –

Methodological Training Archival Workshop

Bath Spa University

Period: 19-22 February 2018 – Methodological Training Program for the SLAFNET Network

Archival Workshop: “Sources and Research methods in History of Africa”

Monday 19

Introductory remarks Short discussions about archival experiences and best practice Bath Spa Library tour – Talk about having access to online material

Tuesday 20 – Visit to Bristol

Meeting archivist and talk about colonial sources (Bristol Museums and Arts Galleries) Stop at the Georgian House – short visit // Bristol and slavery Library in College Green and source material Museum MShed (exhibition on slave trade and slavery) Coach to Bristol Record Office and access to primary sources if needed by majority of researchers after consultation of online catalogue.

Wednesday 21 – Visit to London

Morning: Session at the National Archives about accessing material and about the material (Laura Tompkins)

Afternoon: British Library session with archivists about material (to be confirmed).

Thursday 22- Visit to Oxford

Session at the Bodleian Libraries – “Commonwealth and African Collections” Session at the Ashmolean and colonial collection. Short tour of Oxford – Colonial legacies and funds in the city  

Contact: Olivette Otele –


L’IRD coordonne le projet européen SLAFNET dédié aux legs de l’esclavage

Créer un réseau international de recherche dédié aux legs de l’esclavage, en Afrique et en Europe : tel est l’objectif du projet de recherche SLAFNET[1], coordonné par l’IRD. Financé par la Commission européenne, il associe une équipe pluridisciplinaire d’une cinquantaine de chercheurs, au sein d’un consortium rassemblant 13 partenaires du Nord et du Sud.

Pendant trois ans, SLAFNET favorisera la mise en synergie des travaux de recherche réalisés par des équipes européennes et africaines, francophones et anglophones, sur les dynamiques sociales mises en place après les abolitions de l’esclavage et jusqu’à nos jours.

Le projet mobilisera plus d’une cinquantaine de chercheurs, en France, au Kenya, à l’île Maurice, au Cameroun, en Ethiopie, au Sénégal, en Allemagne, au Portugal et au Royaume-Uni. Il permettra de :

  • Comprendre les questions relatives à la citoyenneté, à la marginalisation et à l’injustice dans les sociétés post-esclavagistes en Afrique et en Europe
  • Analyser la dialectique entre le souvenir et l’oubli de l’esclavage
  • Initier une réflexion sur les processus de patrimonialisation de cette histoire à l’échelle individuelle et nationale
  • Réaliser un inventaire des bases de données des ressources existantes sur l’esclavage dans l’Atlantique et l’océan Indien occidental

Les 13 partenaires de SLAFNET déclineront leurs travaux en trois volets : formation, recherche et valorisation, afin de promouvoir et soutenir la coopération entre chercheurs et institutions des deux continents (1), renforcer le soutien aux jeunes chercheurs africains et européens (2) et développer de nouvelles synergies avec le monde académique et non-académique (3).

Save the date

  • Janvier/février 2018: formations méthodologiques sur les services d’archives et leurs ressources, proposés par l’Université de BathSpa au Royaume Uni  et la Faculté de lettres de l’université de Lisbonne au Portugal.
  • Janvier/février 2018: participation des chercheurs du consortium aux séminaires du Centre nternational de recherches sur les esclavages (CIRESC – CNRS) à Paris.
  • Avril 2018: première école d’été de SLAFNET, organisée à l’île Maurice sur le thème « Between Slavery and post-Slavery: Citizenship, Dependence, and Abolitionism in African and Indian Ocean Societies , coorganisée par l’Université de l’île Maurice et l’Université de Birmingham.

Pour en savoir plus

SLAFNET est financé à hauteur de 1 107 000 euros dans le cadre du programme Horizon 2020 de la Commission européenne (programme RISE – Research and Innovation Staff Exchange).

Partenaires du consortium SLAFNET :

  • Europe : IRD, CNRS et Université de Nantes (France), Bath Spa University et University of Birmingham (Royaume-Uni), Faculdade de letras da Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), Universitaet Hamburg (Allemagne).
  • Afrique : Catholic University of Eastern Africa et National Museums of Kenya (Kenya), University of Mauritius (Ile Maurice), Université de Yaoundé 1 (Cameroun), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopie), Université Cheich Anta-Diop (Sénégal).

[1] Slavery in Africa: a dialogue between Europe and Africa.