Slavery and Forced Labour in Asia: Status Quaestionis

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Although it is the Earth’s largest and most populous continent, Asia remains poorly represented in the literature on slavery and forced labour despite the recent surge of interest in studying these topics in pan-regional contexts.1 As earlier scholarship on servitude in Asia suggests, this part of the world was least influenced by the two systems of slavery that dominate the historiogra-phy on slavery and forced labour: ancient Rome and the Atlantic. As histori-ans of Africa and the Indian Ocean world also increasingly appreciate, these two models fail to capture the diversity of the human experience with forced labour and the infinite variety of free and unfree labour relations that have existed in different parts of the world over the centuries. Both of these models represent, in terms of some of the categorizations that I want to develop in this chapter, closed, hard, state-enforced private ownership of chattel slaves. We need to put these paradigms to one side as we consider the nature and dynam-ics of slavery and forced labour in Asia in all of its complexity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSlavery and Bonded Labor in Asia
    Editors Jeff Fynn-Paul & Richard Allen
    Place of PublicationLeiden/Boston
    ISBN (Print)9789004469655
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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