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The Second Slavery
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Dale Tomich is Professor of Sociology and History and Deputy Director of the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University of the State University of New York. His research and teaching is concerned with Atlantic History and World-Economy. He has pubqlished extensively in these areas including Pelo prisma da escravidão (EDUSP, 2011). He is currently engaged in a collaborative project with Brazilian and Cuban scholars on the visual history of slave plantations in Cuba, Brazil, and the US South during the nineteenth century.
Ricardo Salles and Rafael de Bivar Marquese, eds., Escravidão e Capitalismo Histórico: História e Historiografia. Brasil, Cuba, Estados Unidos, século XIX, (São Paulo: Civilização Brasileira, forthcoming 2014)
Laviña, Javier and Zeuske, Michael (eds). The Second Slavery: Mass Slaveries and Modernity in the Americas and in the Atlantic Basin. (LIT Verlag: Berlin and Zürich, 2014).
Tomich, Dale, editor and preface. Eric Williams, The Economic Aspect of the Abolition of the West Indian Slave Trade and Slavery, Introduction by Sandy Darity. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.)
Tomich, Dale, Olívia Maria Gomes da Cunha, Flávio dos Santos Gomes, editors, “Re-Thinking the Plantation: Histories, Anthropologies, Archeologies” Special double issue of Review, XXXIV, 1 and 2 (June, 2013).
Tomich, Dale. Pelo Prisma da Escravidão, trans. Antonio de Padua Danesi, (São Paulo: Editorial Universidade de São Paulo, December, 2011).
Tomich, Dale, “Pensando o impensável: Victor Schoelcher e a Revolução Haitiana,” Mana. Estudos de Antropologia Social (Rio de Janeiro), 15, 1 (2009), 183-212.
Dale Tomich, Producer / Director. Caribbean Journey: Conversations with Sidney Mintz. (Binghamton, NY: Fernand Braudel Center, 2013.)
Dale Tomich, Guest Curator: Plantation Places: Coffee, Cotton, Sugar and the Making of Nineteenth Century Slaveries. Binghamton University Art Museum. (September 28-December 15, 2012.)
“Rediscovering Eric Williams: The Intellectual History of Capitalism and Slavery,” Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University, Binghamton NY. March 14, 2014
Escravidão e Capitalismo Histórico: História e Historiografia. Brasil, Cuba, Estados Unidos, século XIX. Lab-Mundi / Programa de Pós-Graduação em História Social. Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo Brasil. 16 Setembro, 2013.
“Atlanticization and the Second Slavery,” Cologne Germany, July 12-14, 2012. Fernand Braudel Center and Iberische und Lateinamericanische Abteilung, Historisches Seminar, Universität zu Köln.
Panel “The Reconfiguration of American Slavery in the Nineteenth Century: Brazil, Cuba, and the United States,” 54th International Congress of Americanists. Vienna, Austria. July 2012.
Panel: “Commodity Frontiers of the Second Slavery,” Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association, Mobile Alabama, November 2012.
“The Politics of The Second Slavery: Conflict And Crisis on the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Slave Frontier.” Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University. October 15-16, 2010.
Co-Organizers: “Século XIX e as Novas Fronteiras da Escravidão e da Liberdade,” Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, and Universidade Severino Sombra (USS), Vassouras Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. August 2009.
Co-Organizers: “Plantations in the Americas: Material, Social, and Symbolic Landscapes,” Museu Naconal. Quinta da Boa Vista. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. May 4-6, 2009.
The Second Slavery
The concept of Second Slavery refers to the creation of new zones of slavery – exemplified by the Cotton South, the Cuban sugar economy, and the Brazilian coffee zone -- as part of the material expansion and economic and political restructuring of the world-economy during the nineteenth century. These new zones represent dynamic though highly contradictory responses to industrialization, market competition, and political independence in the Americas. Consequently, the concept of second slavery emphasizes the reformation of slave relations within changing economic, political, social, and cultural fields. From such a perspective, the concept of the second slavery encourages the re-examination of political and ideological relations and movements including liberalism, anti-slavery, pro-slavery, and the changing repertoires of slave resistance after the Haitian Revolution. It allows reinterpretation not only the emergence of new zones of slavery, but also the crisis and decline of old zones as well as the interrelation of world, international, national, and local processes organizing and reorganizing diverse forms of free and bonded labor throughout the world economy.
Thus, the concept of second slavery calls into question binomials such as archaic / modern, pre-capitalist / capitalist, slavery / freedom through which slavery has been interpreted. Instead, it emphasizes the complexity of world-economic change and the diverse yet spatially and temporally specific relations through which slavery has been formed and reformed as part of world-economic processes.
30-31 Outubro 2015
Antislavery Republics: the politics of abolition in the Spanish Atlantic
Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
17th Annual Conference
Rediscovering Eric Williams: The Intellectual History of Capitalism and Slavery, realizada em comemoração a publicação de The Economic Aspect of the Abolition of the West Indian Slave Trade and Slavery, de Eric Williams pela Rowman and Littlefield, saiu o número mais recente de Review.
Em entrevista ao programa ‘Hablemos de Historia’ da rádio Vox UJI (107.8 FM) da Universitat Jaume I, concedida em 26 de março, o historiador e integrante do LAH, Dale Tomich fala, de suas pesquisas sobre escravidão na Martinica, em Cuba e no Brasil em perspectiva comparada.
Acesse aqui para ouvir a entrevista (em inglês e castelhano).
Capitalism and Slavery: The Atlantic, Africa, and Beyond
A Colloquium in Honor of Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch
March 23–24, 2018
The Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of
Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations at Binghamton University
All sessions are held in the Fernand Braudel Center, AA-330
Conference Organizers: Dale Tomich, Sven Beckert, Paul Lovejoy, and Michael Zeuske
This colloquium will address the trajectories, intersections and interrelation of Atlantic slavery and African slaveries in the context of the economic and political expansion of the capitalist world-economy during the “long” nineteenth century (1780–1914). In this period, the destruction of the “old” colonial slavery, the rise of the “second slavery,” decolonization, the formal abolition of the international slave trade, slave emancipation and the creation of new forms of coerced labor reorganized the economic and political geography of the Americas and Africa. The destruction of Atlantic slavery was accompanied by the expansion and reorientation of slavery and the slave trade in Africa, which in many instances was linked to state consolidation. These African developments eventually came into conflict with European economic and political (colonial) expansion.
A central concern of the colloquium will be how best to explain these increasingly interlinked historical processes. Taking as our point of departure the concept of the second slavery, we propose, in particular, to address a series of questions:
o First, what is the relationship, if any, between the expansion and destruction of the second slavery in the Americas, and the expansion of slavery in Africa and Asia?
o Secondly, capitalism’s slavery encouraged other forms of coerced and semi-coerced labor, as well as new patterns of massive transnational labor migration, but it did so in ways that are not always clear. How are we to understand these changes in the context of a second slavery?
o Thirdly, work on second slavery has largely focused on large-scale political and economic transformations. In contrast, much of the work on slave studies has come to focus on the enslaved themselves and their responses to their enslavement. How may these two different perspectives be brought into relation with one another?
o Finally, capitalist expansion created demand for a growing volume and variety of tropical and semi-tropical commodities including sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton and palm oil. How did the character of particular commodities shape patterns of social, economic, and political change? Was there a difference between those commodities that fed into industrial production as raw materials and those that were objects of mass consumption?
Friday, March 23
9:30 – 9:40 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Richard E. Lee, Director, Fernand Braudel Center, (Binghamton University)
Dale Tomich, Deputy Director, Fernand Braudel Center, (Binghamton University)
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Keynote Speaker
Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (Professor Emeritus of African History, Diderot Paris–VII University)
L’esclavage africain au XIXe siècle, partenaire indissociable de la traite atlantique
Abstract: This paper aims to explain how Western capitalism emerging in the nineteenth century is connected to African slavery, in the Americas as well as in Africa. Expansion, then destruction of the second slavery in the Americas was interconnected with the expansion of slavery in Africa. All throughout the nineteenth century, according to previous and nevertheless significant concepts, the Western “capitalist mode of production” was fed from the African “slave mode of production.” This connection varied according to time and places. In the first half of the century (c. 1780–1840), the Atlantic slave trade drastically increased. Then, in the second half of the century, the Atlantic slave trade decreased, and then disappeared. The paper begins by questioning what we mean by the African “slave mode of production.” Then we analyze the varied forms correlating Western capitalism with diverse African areas: in Western Africa, the abolition of the Atlantic trade interfered early, and forced Africans to enter the capitalist system as early as the beginning of the century (similar to the situation in the cotton belt in the United States), thanks to the intensification of local slave labor producing raw materials for export. These African products (such as oil seeds and dyeing wood) were necessary for the Industrial Revolution. In Eastern Africa, on the contrary, the slave trade drastically increased in the Indian Ocean toward the end of the century, thanks to the progress of Western industrialization: no longer sold in the Atlantic Ocean, Western armament was massively sold to the Muslim Mediterranean world. When the Suez Canal was opened (1869), European guns invaded the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. In both cases, the result was similar: African societies intensified their “slave mode of production,” which was closely connected to Western capitalism.
Break 10:35 – 10:55 a.m.
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Pepijn Brandon (Senior Researcher, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam)
Capitalism and Slavery in the Very Long Run: The Changing Functions of Slavery in the Dutch Empire (Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries)
Abstract: The old debate instigated by Eric Williams whether slavery laid the basis for industrial capitalism has often been declared irrelevant for studying the Dutch case, since despite the early capitalist orientation of its economic structures, the Netherlands were a nineteenth-century latecomer in the ranks of industrializing nations. When industrialization finally gained speed in the second half of the nineteenth century, the relative importance of the West-Indian slave colonies for the Dutch economy had long dwindled. However, this flat-out rejection of the role of slavery in the making of “modern” capitalism in the Netherlands rests on a narrow and simplistic reading of the Williams Debate, as well as of the actual involvement of the Dutch in slave economies in both the eastern and western components of their empire. This paper will take a long view to show that slavery fulfilled changing functions in the expansion and consolidation of Dutch capitalism at different stages of its development—some directly related to capital accumulation, others to the creation of an imperial infrastructure, the shifting of commodity frontiers and the expansion of global trading networks. It will challenge the prevailing periodization of Dutch involvement in slavery, which dates the beginning of “real” involvement in more or less accidental encounters with the slave-trade in the second quarter of the seventeenth century, and sees the last quarter of the eighteenth century as the end-point of significant economic involvement, even though the Dutch only abolished slavery in the West Indies in 1863.
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tâmis Parron (Faculty Member, Instituto de História, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil)
The Global Space-Time of the World-Economy: Slavery and (the New History of) Capitalism
Abstract: I propose in this paper that the constantly changing space-time of the world economy is key to understanding the rise and fall of nineteenth-century Black slavery in the Americas. While scholars of the so-called “new history of capitalism” have renewed the field of research on slavery and capitalism by challenging many assumptions of modernization theory, area specialization keeps scholarship within the bounds of methodological nationalism or the meta-geography of area studies. As a result, we are currently able to ground the growth of American, Brazilian, or Cuban slavery on industrial capitalism, but we still lack a more precise understanding of the changing global space-time produced by industrial capitalism that reshaped the systemic conditions of Black slavery in the nineteenth century. To overcome this shortcoming, I put forth in this paper the concepts of periphery-intensive commodity market integration (PCMI), center-intensive commodity market integration (CCMI) and the making of the Indo-Pacific complex (IPC) as different moments of the axial division of labor that, recasting the space-time of the world system, both determined and was determined by the rise and fall of Black slavery in the nineteenth-century Americas.
Lunch 12:10 – 1:25 p.m.
1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Christopher R. DeCorse (Professor, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University)
Slavery, Africa, and Political Economies of the Atlantic World
Abstract: The past millennium has been a period of dramatic transformation in West Africa, including changes in economy, social organization, sociopolitical systems, and the associated materialities of these phenomena. Beginning in the fifteenth century, Atlantic exchanges intricately linked Africa, Europe, and the Americas and engendered dramatic changes for all of the societies involved. The advent of European commerce, the Atlantic slave trade, abolition, the beginning of colonial rule, and postcolonial reformations each heralded new patterns of both economic exchange and cultural interactions that reflected global economic patterns, as well as African social, cultural, and political structures. Many of these events and upheavals are to a larger extent poorly known and their extent poorly represented in European documentary sources. Archaeology provides a key source of information—in many instances the only source of information—of the transformations that these varied intersections stimulated. Drawing on archaeological and historical sources from across West Africa, this paper assesses the longue durée of the West African past, contrasting change and transformation during the past millennia. I consider how transformations within West Africa reflect both change and alterations in the wider world-system, as well as the varied local economic, political, and cultural formations that shaped European-indigene interactions and economic relations.
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Paul E. Lovejoy (Professor, Department of History, Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History, Distinguished Research Professor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, York University, Toronto)
The Jihad Movement and the Development of Second Slavery in West Africa in the Nineteenth Century
Abstract: Between 1780 and 1850, the political map of West Africa was transformed through a jihad movement that overthrew most established governments and installed new regimes based on strict adherence to Islamic law (shari’a). This political movement was based in part on opposition to the transatlantic slave trade and effectively completed a process of self-imposed isolation from the Atlantic world that ended only with the European conquest of the region, which was effectively completed in 1903, despite sporadic resistance thereafter. Based on a profound intellectual outpouring of literature in Arabic and the radical teaching of Muslim clerics, jihad fulfilled several aims that consolidated a new political order, despite frontier pockets of opposition and the inability of the jihad leadership to adhere always to its principles and stated aims. Nonetheless, the economic transformation ushered in a period of massive enslavement and economic development that paralleled the rise of the second slavery in the Americas. Because of its politically sanctioned isolation, Islamic West Africa had a dramatic impact on the shape of the Atlantic world, whose contours did not include a major region of Africa, which demographically could have supplied all of the enslaved population for the Americas in the last decades of the eighteenth century and the whole of the nineteenth century, but instead accounted for well less than 10 percent of the enslaved population sent to the Americas.
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Richard B. Allen (Professor, Department of History, Framingham State University)
Merchant Capital and Slave Trading in the Western Indian Ocean, 1770–1830
Abstract: Recent scholarship demonstrates that European slave trading in the Indian Ocean was more extensive and historically significant than hitherto believed, and that this commerce was an integral component of a global European trade in chattel labor. British, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and other Europeans shipped a minimum of 567,900–733,200 African, Indian, Southeast Asian, and other chattel laborers within the Indian Ocean basin between 1500 and 1850, a substantial proportion of whom were traded during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Southeastern Africa and Madagascar also exported 386,000–542,700 slaves into the Atlantic during the same period.
While the outlines of the European trades that transported a minimum of 953,900–1,275,900 slaves within and beyond the Indian Ocean world between 1500 and 1850 are now discernible, much less is known about how this transoceanic traffic was financed. Recent archival research and published scholarship on the slave trade to the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and Réunion and the activities of Gujarati merchants in Portuguese Mozambique provide new insights into the economics of European slave trading in the western Indian Ocean between c. 1770 and c. 1830, insights that invite comparison with the economics of slave trading in the Atlantic world. The information now at our disposal underscores that the economics of European slave trading must be viewed from a pan-regional perspective that includes a careful consideration of the ways in which metropolitan merchant capital interacted with colonial merchant capital; the important but hitherto ignored role of Gujarati merchants in financing the transoceanic traffic in chattel labor in the western Indian Ocean; and the need to examine the ways in which various European slave trading networks in the Indian Ocean world were interconnected with one another.
Break 3:10 – 3:25 p.m.
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Michael Zeuske (Rostock Historian and Professor, Department of History, University of Cologne)
Second Slavery and Hidden Atlantic: Accumulation and Capitalism of Human Bodies between Africa and the Americas in the Nineteenth Century
Abstract: The capital and much of the funding for the development of second slavery in the Americas (Cuba, Brazil, United States, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe) was generated by illegal trade between the West African coasts, as well as with Mozambique between 1808–1874 and by legal means in the internal slave trade, above all in the United States and Brazil and partially in Cuba between 1808–1888. This capital was channeled between Africa and the Americas by the infrastructures of violence. The paper analyzes the significance and role of the Hidden Atlantic for the development and stabilization of second slavery, especially in Cuba, and also considers the links between the Caribbean and the U.S. South, and Bahia in terms of smuggling by factors, captains, and slave traders.
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Mariana Candido (Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame)
African Business Women in the Age of Second Slavery in Angola
Abstract: This paper explores the role of African women in the transition from slave exports to legitimate commerce in the mid-nineteenth century. Looking at the case of Teresa Ferreira Torres Barruncho, it examines the mechanisms African women employed to accumulate property, including human beings. After the ban on slave exports in 1836, West Central Africans started looking for new economic activities and shifted their focus and energy to the trade in commodities as legitimate commerce expanded in Benguela. In the process, African women achieved new social and economic positions in the colonial setting, accumulating dependents and goods. Teresa Ferreira Torres Barruncho amassed a large number of slaves and land, and became the most important cotton producer and exporter in the 1860s. She married at least 4 times, challenged local rulers’ land claims, and controlled more than 300 slaves on one of her farms. The concentration of dependents, including enslaved ones, consolidated wealth in fewer hands and altered notions of land access and rights. This study emphasizes African women’s role as active agents of change at the coast and in the interior of Benguela during this time of economic transformation, making extensive use of kinship and economic networks that already existed.
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Henry Lovejoy (Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Colorado, Boulder)
The Commodification of Freedom in Colonial Cuba during the Nineteenth Century
Abstract: In the 1850s, British abolitionists and missionaries recorded financial details for 70 self-emancipated Africans and their descendants from Cuba in England. They were traveling from Havana, where they had been slaves, to Abẹ́òkúta, which is a city in what is now modern-day Nigeria. The majority of these people were “Lucumí,” which was a colony designation that slave traders generally labeled people from the Bight of Benin hinterland and who spoke the Yorùbá language. This circum-Atlantic movement of people from Africa to Cuba to England and back to Africa raises questions about how a Yorùbá community raised enough money in a slave society to buy their freedom and pay for their voyage home. This paper provides a closer examination of the personal finances, expenditures, and saving mechanisms of a group of enslaved Africans who raised substantial capital in colonial Cuba and engaged in gradual self-purchase, called coartación. This process was a lengthy and legal endeavor, which required strategic financial planning among people earning miniscule annual salaries between 300 and 650 dollars per year. In this case study, evidence affirms how Yorùbá, likely from the Ẹ̀gbá subgroup, organized along ethnic lines to establish and operate traditional African savings, credit, and banking institutions called èsúsú and/or àjọ. In Havana, they pooled the little money they could earn, and effectively engaged in rotating credit and savings associations to subsidize their freedom and return to Africa.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24
9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
Klaus Weber (Chair of Economic and Social History, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder)
Samuel Eleazar Wendt (Doctoral Researcher & Assistant Teacher at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder)
African Labor and Industrial Progress in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Germany
Abstract: Germany has not been prominent among the colonial/maritime powers who dominated European expansion and the plantation system(s) established in the Americas and beyond. Only from the 1880s, after the belated creation of a German nation state, did the country acquire overseas possessions, mostly in Africa. Rather recently, this colonial empire has attracted scholarly interest with regard to the question of whether and to what extent it needs to be understood as a harbinger of the even more aggressive subjection and exploitation of eastern European regions during the Second World War—with the First World War also seen in such continuity (Conrad 2013; Naranch & Eley 2014; Kundrus 2014; Zimmerer 2005).
Yet, Germany’s nineteenth-century colonial interest needs also to be considered as a continuation of previous Central European entanglements with the Atlantic world, which can be traced back to the Iberian expansion of the fifteenth and sixteenth century. German entrepreneurs had in fact been involved with the slave trade, plantation economies, and the processing of colonial products through the centuries, part of it being run under Spanish, French, British, etc. flags (Brahm & Rosenhaft 2016; Weber 2005, 2015).
To date, these two strands of research are hardly interconnected. The paper here proposed will look at Wilhelmine colonial enterprise from a modern and from an early modern perspective. It will do so by also examining the role of such plantation products (rubber, palm oil, sisal, kapok, etc.), which were of importance for Germany as the hotbed of the Second Industrial Revolution, from which the modern chemicals industry and the electrical industry have emerged. Much of it—e.g., rubber for electrical insulation and many other industrial needs—was produced with semi-coerced African labor (Eckert 1998; Eleazar Wendt 2018).
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Janet Ewald (Associate Professor, Department of History, Duke University)
Captive Labor and Semi-Captive Labor: The Second Slavery and Maritime Contract Labor in the Indian Ocean, c. 1770–1900
Abstract: I have argued elsewhere that, beginning c. 1770, a second slavery as characterized by Tomich and Zeuske for the Atlantic—that is, a massive redeployment of labor to new lands—emerged in the western Indian Ocean. I have also argued for the links between the Atlantic second slavery and western Indian Ocean second slavery. Both developed in the global context of the eighteenth century, particularly the late eighteenth century. That context included, in both regions, a re-working of the relationship between merchant capitalists and the authority of the state. In addition, the industrialization associated with the Atlantic second slavery also bore a direct impact on the second slavery in the western Indian Ocean.
This paper takes these two commonalities between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean second slaveries in a different direction. Here, I use the successive importance of merchant capital/industrial capital to tease out the entwined relationship between the second slavery in the western Indian Ocean and the formation of a semi-captive maritime labor force on British steam liners in the Indian Ocean. This semi-captive labor force consisted of Indian and African mariners working under a uniquely restrictive maritime labor contract sometimes known as “East India Articles” (EIA). The EIA made these men semi-captive by requiring that they must return to the Indian Ocean (usually Indian) ports in which they had enlisted. This stipulation trapped the seafarers in a circulating pool of cheap labor, hired at the low wages that prevailed in Asian ports. EIA seafarers did not exercise the mobility that all other seafarers possessed; no other seafarers labored under the requirement to return to their port of enlistment. One group of EIA mariners physically linked the captive slave labor force of slaves with the semi-captive industrial maritime labor force: African freedmen, who almost invariably worked below deck, with coal that fueled the engines of the ship. How bondsmen became industrial workers, performing the newest and most dangerous labor on board steam vessels, at low wages, is one part of my narrative.
But the second slavery and the EIA entwine in another way. Although not exactly simultaneous, the two forms of labor developed parallel to each other and under the impact of merchant capital/industrial capital. The late eighteenth-century reworking of relationships between merchant capitalists and European governing institutions in the western Indian Ocean contributed to the emergence of both the second slavery and EIA. Beginning around 1820, the goods produced by European and North American factories, and the desires of consumers made affluent by industrialization, impelled the Indian Ocean slave trade deep into the African interior. By the 1840s, some bondsmen performed port labor in Arabia, and likely in other places where slavery was legal, that supported industrial transportation. Bondsmen who became freedmen in British territories or vessels fell under the tight wing of British protection—which sometimes directed them to industrial work or work in industrial sites. Finally, in a kind of mirror image of the late eighteenth-century tension between the governing East India Company and private merchants, a coalition of government officials and industrial entrepreneurs cooperated to ensure a semi-captive labor force, which included African freedmen, for British steam liners.
Break 10:40 – 11:05 a.m.
11:15 – 11:45 p.m.
Patrick Manning (Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History, Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh)
The Second Slavery in Africa: Migration and Political Economy in the Nineteenth Century
Abstract: In the author’s long-term research on levels of African population and migration, 1650–1950, estimates for the nineteenth century have emerged as a set of problems of particular interest and complexity. For the era before 1800, the retention of captives in Africa was overwhelmingly as a byproduct of the export slave trade: as a result, the number of enslaved people in Africa was relatively modest, and it grew slowly, along with the export slave trade. During the nineteenth century, however, waves of enslavement developed in many parts of Africa, and such enslavement had steadily less and less to do with the export slave trade, as the latter declined sharply after 1850. As a result, the estimation of African population and migration for the nineteenth century is now seen to require explicit estimates of the number of people captured and held in slavery for each African region and over time (the overall analysis is organized by decade).
With some important exceptions (such as work by Gwyn Campbell, Paul Lovejoy, Shane Doyle, and the late Dennis Cordell), the literature in African history has been vague in its assessment of the expansion of continental slavery in the nineteenth century. Similarly, the literature has been vague on the political economy or the “business model” of such enslavement. What ambitions and benefits set the initiative and the timing of those who seized, sold, and exploited so many people as slaves? How does this pattern fit with broad changes in African economies and with shifting patterns of the global economy?
This paper is to present an introductory overview of two big questions addressed here: it sketches a narrative, both regional and continental, of the rise and decline of enslavement in nineteenth-century Africa, and it offers speculations as to the motives, functions, and consequences of the expanded enslavement as it is presented in the narrative.
Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Sven Beckert (Laird Bell Professor of History, Department of History, Harvard University)
Joseph C. Miller (T. Carey Johnson, Jr. Professor of History, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia)
Dale Tomich (Deputy Director, Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University)