Women And Slavery: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic
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This is the first volume of a two-part collection of articles on women and slavery. Campbell (Indian Ocean world history, McGill), Miers (history, Ohio University) and Miller (history, University of Virginia) have selected studies of women in Africa, the lands ringing the Indian Ocean and one brief detour to early medieval Norse society. The sections are arranged by the societal framework of the slavery involved, from kin-based communities, to patriarchal households to national and often religion based slavery both in Islamic and Christian African states to slavery under French and Boer colonialism. While there is some discussion of women involved in the buying and selling of slaves, most articles are about the variety of circumstances under which women existed as slaves. In a few cases the economic value of women's work is demonstrated but all too often the main function of female slaves is sexual, either as members of a harem, concubines of a chief or playthings of a foreign trader. Some of the authors discuss the position of the children of these women in the different circumstances. All of them remind the reader that the practice of conquerors killing the men and taking women and children as slaves is a universal constant in human history. The articles are emotionally painful to read but worth the effort. Annotation c2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
\Gwyn Campbell, Canada Research Chair in Indian Ocean World History at McGill University, is the author and editor of many works, including Abolition and Its Aftermath in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia and An Economic History of Imperial Madagascar. Suzanne Miers is professor emerita of history at Ohio University. She is the author of Slavery in the Twentieth Century and coeditor of The End of Slavery and other books. Joseph C. Miller is the T. Cary Johnson, Jr. Professor of history at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Kings and Kinsmen, Way of Death, and works on the world history of slavery.