Slave Voices

The SlaveVoices project funded by an ERC consolidator grant has two main groundbreaking scientific goals. First, it aims at fully renewing our approach of the end of slavery, a crucial social transformation in North Africa as in other parts of the Muslim world. So far historians have explained the abolition and slow vanishing of slavery in this region either as the outcome of European imperialistic interventions or to a lesser extent as resulting from debates among Muslim scholars and leaders who were owning slaves. SlaveVoices will instead interpret the end of slavery through the testimonies of the ones who experienced and acted for the end of slavery: namely, the testimonies of the slaves and their descendants written in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and European languages.

Second, by studying together –and not apart as is often the case– the various groups of slaves in North Africa hailing from Africa, Europe and Asia, SlaveVoices will propose a new way of conceiving and writing the history of North Africa. Instead of studying each historical phenomenon according to each national part of this region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt) as it has often been the case, SlaveVoices will be a concrete attempt at writing a globalized and connected history of modern North Africa. It will explore the reshaping of the connections that groups of slaves built up within North African societies and between this part of the Muslim world and other adjoining societies in Africa, Asia and Europe in the abolition era.

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