Call for Applications 

International Summer Academy

“Unfree Labor Old and New”

3 November – 10 November 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The international research center “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History” (re: work) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Department of History of Addis Ababa University will hold a Summer Academy exploring the historical lineages and contemporary meanings and practices of unfree work in a global context. The Summer Academy is an annual interactive workshop that the Center has been holding since 2010 at different venues. It is open for doctoral students working in the field of labor / anthropological, sociological, and other social sciences perspectives. Advanced doctoral students will have a chance to present their work before their peers and a group of senior scholars. This year’s workshop will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 3 to November 10, 2019.

Unfree labor has a long pedigree, going back to the Egypt of the Pharaohs, ancient Rome, and empires and kingdoms throughout the world. In feudal Europe, it has been largely characterized by farm labor that the country is obligated to perform for the lord and in some instances the state. This practice persists in some places until the middle of the nineteenth century. In Asia, it assumes the character of the conscription of labor for plantations (as in Indonesia), the provision of transport for state officials and goods (as in India and Japan) and the obligation of merchant guilds to provide labor for the repair of temples , palaces and offices. In colonial Africa, unfree labor was mobilized for the repair of roads, railroad construction, and settler farms.

Elsewhere, adaptation to the end of slavery went along with the constitution of new households, the reconfiguration of domestic labor plowing, new or revived forms of coerced labor, trafficking, conflicts over the control of labor and the emergence of sharecropping, debt bondage, and forced marriages as a form of labour mobilization.

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Slavery in Africa: A dialogue between Europe and Africa

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