Jobs/Jul 27, 2015

Slavery in the Medieval World

Slavery in the Medieval World, call for papers and sessions, 23rd International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 4–7, 2016

The study of slavery in the Medieval World has been largely marginalized in the past. Despite large amounts of evidence, medievalists have traditionally opted to focus their attentions elsewhere or to have seen slavery as being of only marginal importance in the societies and economies of the world from late antiquity until the opening of the Atlantic trade. While some important studies have been done in the past, a new interest in the subject has been growing with research looking more and more at the subject and its ramifications.

While it seems that the International Medieval Congress at Leeds this summer has barely ended, it is already time to begin thinking about next year. This summer, of course, there were more papers and sessions devoted to the subject of slavery (and related topics) in the medieval world than ever before.  As a result, some were even scheduled to run against each other. In order to avoid this next summer and to better promote understanding of the topic, it is hoped to organize a strand of sessions to be held next year at the IMC Leeds 2016 (4 to 7 July 2016, at the University of Leeds).

The overall topic will be ‘Slavery in the Medieval World’ with separate sessions focusing on various eras and topics under the overall theme.

The individual sessions will be numbered and will have sub-titles relevant to what their particular focus is (as well as individual session organizers). Possible topics might include such areas as "Slavery in Medieval Arabia", "Manumission", "Children in Slavery", "Slavery and the End of the Western Empire" and so on and so forth.

The total number of sessions will, of course, be determined by the number of participants; ideally, we will have a mix of early career and more senior scholars as well as of people working on a range of geographic and temporal areas.

By bringing together scholars working on different areas and periods of the history of medieval Europe, Asia, and Africa, we hope to address the question of whether there is a single subject of slavery in the medieval world, whether some practices and activities can be seen as being of global importance, and how the earlier modes of slavery found in antiquity shaped later practice. Whether the teachings of the monotheistic religions served to ameliorate slave-systems inherited from the past or whether they served to make them stronger could be discussed while the role of slavery itself in the systems of exchange and of personal relationship might also be usefully addressed.

All proposals addressing the topic, whether of single papers or of organized sessions, are welcome and will be examined.

Practical issues

If you are interested in giving a paper or organizing a session, please send an email by 23 August 2015 to

While we look forward to proposals for individual papers, we also encourage potential collaboration, respondents, and moderators.  Of course, please feel free to forward this call for papers to any student or colleague who might be interested in participating in our strand!

When you write, include the following information:

  • paper title
  • a short abstract/brief description indicating what the paper will be about (max. 200 words)
  • your contact details and affiliation
  • equipment needed? (Laptop, Beamer, etc.)

 We will determine how papers of 20 minutes each best fit and we’ll let you know the results as soon as possible (no later than mid-September). We are unable to cover travel, registration and accommodation expenses for speakers. Please consider the bursary application offered by the IMC (deadline 17 October).

Source: BYZANS-L