This course explores the practice of slavery in its various forms in the Middle East and North Africa, from pre-Islamic times through the abolition of the slave trade in the late nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, and considers its impact on the political, military, social, and economic histories of the wider region. Topics include: the sources of slaves and the slave trade; the social and economic functions of slavery; law and slavery; manumission practices; the slave-soldier phenomenon; captivity and ransom; questions of religion, gender and race; imperialism and the movement towards abolition.
This discussion-based class is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have taken at least one HIME course previously. Weekly readings—mostly scholarly books and articles—will average 150-200 pages. Evaluation is based on participation, weekly response papers, and a final research paper.