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Lecture | Studium Generale

A Free Non-White Elite in Paramaribo AND Indian Ocean Slavery (two lectures)

Monday 8 May 2017
Open to all. Free entry. No prior registration required.
Slavery: History and Political Philosophy
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Lecture 1: The Characteristic Story of the Free Non-White Family Vlier: The Formation of a Free Non-White Elite in Paramaribo, 1800 – 1863

Manumission in Suriname existed from the time slavery started (± 1650) and it was mainly an urban phenomenon. The freed slaves, also called the manumitted, and their descendants made up the group of free non-white people. This group grew quickly and at the start of the nineteenth century it became the largest segment of Paramaribo’s population.
By the time slavery was abolished, in 1863, some 65 per cent of the city’s non-white population was already free.
The diversity of occupations practiced by this group demonstrated the important role this segment of the population played in Paramaribo already during the period of slavery. In the social sphere they were also actively supporting the very poorest.
This lecture will bring to light how the free non-whites eroded the slavery system from within.

Dr Ellen Neslo LLM works at Utrecht University.

Lecture 2: Indian Ocean Slavery, 1700 – 1850: Local Experiences in Global Perspective

This lecture focuses on slavery in the Indian Ocean, in particular in the regions of Sri Lanka and the Indonesian Archipelago. It looks at local practices of bondage and slavery and raises the question how the intensification of long distance trade (European, Chinese, Arabian)  and colonialism influenced patterns of slavery in the region and vice versa.  The literature often focuses on the question of numbers and geography: how many people were traded by whom and whereto. But is it possible to come to a closer understanding of what it meant to be a slave? Examples from eighteenth-century Jaffna (Sri Lanka) and nineteenth-century Manado (North Sulawesi) are used to show the possibilities and constraints in analysing the local experiences of the enslaved in this early globalizing world.

Dr Alicia Schrikker is University Lecturer at the Institute for History, Leiden University.

These are the fifth and sixth of seven lectures in our series
Slavery: History and Political Philosophy

This series was organised in co-operation with the Leiden Slavery Studies Association.

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