[R4785] Histories of Slavery in Medieval Islamic Societies

Created by Craig Perry
Sunday, 11/19/17 10:30am


The proposed roundtable "Histories of Slavery in Medieval Islamic Societies" is designed to engage participants who are actively pursuing research on slavery and the slave trade in the medieval Islamic world. While historians have rightfully pointed out the relative lack of scholarship on this topic, there is at present a critical mass of scholars whose research addresses this lacuna. The contents of the February 2017 issue of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (49.1) reflect the vitality of this growing sub-field. Contributors to the journal's roundtable "Locating Slavery in Middle Eastern and Islamic History" demonstrate how new research on slavery and the slave trade enlarges what we are able to know about (inter alia) elite and non-elite household life, geo-political relationships between centers and peripheries, and even the history of emotions. The February 2017 IJMES essays will serve as one common point of departure for participants at this proposed MESA roundtable.

Two specific questions will frame brief opening statements and conversation with the audience. First, how are scholars using new (and/or neglected) sources for their research as well as asking new questions of more well-known sources that have not been adequately explored for what they can tell us about slavery? The invited participants collectively have wide-ranging expertise in medieval Arabic literary and narrative sources, legal works, and unpublished documentary evidence. Second, how and to what extent was slavery a constitutive element in Muslim societies? That is, how did various practices of slavery fundamentally shape the formation of identity, society, and law in the early and medieval Islamic world?

"Histories of Slavery in Medieval Islamic Societies" will include and appeal to scholars working in disciplines including history, literature, law, gender studies, and beyond. The roundtable's composition also mirrors the geographical breadth of medieval Islamic societies, ranging from North Africa to India, as well as a chronological scope that includes eras between the seventh and thirteenth centuries. In order to reach interested conference attendees, the organizer will apply for sponsorship from Middle East Medievalists (MEM) and also publicize the roundtable before the annual meeting via listservs and social media. Participants will be required to secure their own funding for travel, accommodation, and conference registration.


Middle East Medievalists (MEM)





Matthew S. Gordon

(Miami University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Elizabeth Urban

(West Chester University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Craig Perry

(University of Cincinnati)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Magdalena Moorthy Kloss

(Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;