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Report on the workshop on "Slave Systems in Asia and the Indian Ocean: Their Structure and Change in the 19th and 20th Centuries

The workshop on "Slave Systems in Asia and the Indian Ocean: Their structure and Change in the 19th and 20th centuries" Université d’Avignon, 18-20 May 2000, examined the slave trade and slavery in Asia and the Indian Ocean, where European participation was far less than that in its Atlantic counterpart. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss their research within a comparative framework. The 30 participants came from India, Tanzania, Canada, USA, Australia, France, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Somalia, Mozambique, and the United Kingdom.

Prof. Henri Meloni, Président du l’université d’Avignon, André Ulpat, President of UFR/SLA, CERINS, opened the workshop. In his keynote address, Prof. Lovejoy (York University/UNESCO Nigerian Hinterland Project, Canada) discussed the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the ways in which the workshop addressed the issues raised by the UNESCO initiative. The conference papers, which are listed below, were made available on the conference’s web site to which participants had access. Discussants for each session presented a 30-minute comparative critique of papers that were linked by region and/or theme. The themes included: the slave market, the structure of slavery, the process of abolition, the perpetuation of disguised forms of slavery, the role and status of the ex-slaves, and the gender and age structure of slave populations. Suzanne Miers (Ohio University, USA) discussed the definition of slavery and different forms of unfree labour. Abdul Sheriff (Zanzibar Museums, Tanzania) discussed the papers on East Africa. Dilip Simeon (Oxfam India) was the discussant for the panel that treated the Indian Sub-Continent; Hugh Clark ( Ursinus College, USA) was the discussant for the panel on East Africa. Gwyn Campbell explored the theme of the slavery in South Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. The discussion on Islam was handled by William Clarence-Smith (SOAS, UK), while Indrani Catterjee ( Brown University, USA) discussed issues relating to females and children, Martin Klein (University of Toronto) considered issues relating to abolition, and Joseph Miller (University of Virginia) compared the Asian/Indian Ocean systems with the Atlantic.

The workshop was organized by Dr. Gwyn Campbell, CERINS. Sponsors included: CERINS, IIAS, INALCO/CEROI, Maison du Tourisme et du Vin, Courthèzon-La ville de Courthèzon, York/UNESCO Nigerian Hinterland Project & Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Cananda.


Participants & Papers’ Title

Marie-Hélene Advielle (Université d’Avignon): Le travail des enfants en Inde une forme d’esclavage moderne?

Richard Allen (Framingham State College, USA): The Mascarene slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries: A Reassessment

Ned Alpers (UCLA, USA): Between slavery and freedom: Fugitives and maroons in the Indian Ocean world, c.1750-1900

Clare Anderson (Leicester, UK): The Bel Ombre Rebellion: Indian Convicts in Mauritius, 1815-53

James C. Armstrong (Field Director/LOC) :Ceylon and the slave trade from the VOC period into the early British period.

Abhijit Bhattacharya (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, India): Slavery in Bengal under British Rule: A new form of Slavery.

Michel Boivin (chercheur associé au Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du sud): Condition servile dans le sindh colonial.

Kim Bok Rae (Center for International Area Studies, Seoul, Coree du Sud): Le système de l’esclavage coréen appelé nobi

Peter Boomgaard (Leiden University, the Netherlands): The social and economic role of slavery in Early Modern Indonesia.

Gwyn Campbell (Université d’Avignon): Unfree Labour and the Significance of Abolition in Madagascar,circa1825-1947

Indrani Chatterjee (Brown University, USA): Abolition by Denial? Slavery in South Asia after 1843

Keya Dasgupta, (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta): Plantation Labour in the Regional Economy and Society: The Brahmaputra Valley in a Colonial Set-up

Karine Delaye (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales): "Esclavage et représentations coloniales en Indochine de la seconde moitié du 19è siècle au début du 20è

Omar Eno(York University, Canada): Slavery on Banadir Coast

Jan Ewald (Duke Universsity, USA) Slaves and Freedmen in Indian Ocean Ports and Ship

Trevor Jenkins & Himla Soodyall (SAIMR, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa) & Gwyn Campbell (Université d’Avignon): DNA analysis, and the Distribution of the ex-slave population of Madagascar and the Western Cape, South Africa

Jérôme Joubert (Université d’Avignon): Travail forcé, commerce international et développement: Qui a peur des normes sociales (Labor Standard)?

Musleem Jumeer, (Mauritius Institute of Education): The Structure of the Slavery System in the Isle de France and Mauritius and a Comparative Study of Changes within the two systems

Muhammad Kassim (York University, Canada): Depending on the "Alien": The economic and social roles of ex-slaves in Brava

Pedro Machado ( SOAS, UK): The involvement of Indians in the slave trade across the western Indian Ocean in the context of their participation in the pre-colonial economy of Mozambique

Suzanne Miers (Ohio University, USA): Britain and slavery in the Arabian Peninsular 1919-70

Prabhu P. Mohapatra (Indian Labour History Association): Dying and Fleeing in Assam - Mortality among Indentured Labourers 1880-1920

Michael Salman (UCLA, USA): Slavery, abolition, and the meaning of slavery in the American Colonial Philippines

Shigeru Sato (University of Newcastle, Australia): Forced labour in Indonesia during the Japanese Occupation + Additional Paper

Angela Schottenhammer (Munich University, Germany): Slaves and forms of slavery in late imperial China (18th through early 20 centuries)

Abdul Sheriff (Humboldt University, Berlin): Slavery and its social fallout in the Persian Gulf

K.P.Singh (chairman, KIRS, New Delhi): Bonded Labour in India: Problems and Prospects

Gopal Siwakoti (INHURED International, Nepal): Child Labour in South Asia: A Contemporary Form of Slavery

Tracy Steele (Sam Houston State University, USA): Race, Ethnicity, and Labor in Japan

Andrew Turton (SOAS): The semantics and ideology of 'slavery' and liberty in the Tai/Thai speaking region and aspects of the land trade in

slaves, especially from, and often by, non-Tai, 'tribal' peoples

Ivan Vander biesen (Leuven University, Belgium): Architecture and Slavery. Christ Church: A Cathedral on the Crossroads of British

Romanticism, Christianity and Slavery in Zanzibar

Pierre Vérin (Université de la Polynesie Française): Attitudes liées à l’ancien système esclavagiste dans la société malgache moderne

Kerry Ward (University of Michigan), Changing patterns of forced migration at the Cape and Batavia after the collapse of the Dutch East India Company empire

James Francis Warren: (Murdoch - University, Australia):The Structure of Slavery in the Sulu Zone in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Nigel Worden (University of Cape Town, South Africa): The Slave System of the Cape Colony and its Aftermath and The Indian Ocean Origins of Cape Colony Slaves. A Preliminary Report.