Black Sea Slavery Workshop

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the workshop “Slavery in The Black Sea Region: Forms of Unfreedom at the Intersection between Islam and Christianity, c. 900-1900,” hosted by Leiden Slavery Studies Association and taking place at Leiden University on 30-31 May 2017 (location: Lipsius building, room 1.48).


The papers selected for this workshop span a wide array of topics, from Byzantine economic strategies, to Tatar raiding tactics, to broad comparisons between the Black Sea and the transatlantic slaving zones. The speakers will reflect on slavery in the Black Sea region as an encounter zone between East and West, Christianity and Islam, and their contributions are clustered around six main themes: Late Medieval and Early Modern Trends; Slavery among Christians; The Circassian Question; Raiders, Slaves, and Captives in Crimea; Slaves in the City (Istanbul); and The Black Sea and Global Slavery. The workshop aims to place the Black Sea in the wider debates on global slavery, while raising new questions that aim to illuminate and possibly modify current theories on medieval, early modern, and modern forms of unfreedom.

For a quick look at the workshop program, see below. For more details and the latest updates, please go to our Facebook event page:

All are welcome to attend, but keep in mind that seating is limited. We look forward to seeing you there!



TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2017 – Lipsius Building, Room 1.48

9:15       Session 1 – Late Medieval and Early Modern Trends

·         Michel Balard, Paris-Sorbonne University: The Black Sea Slavery, 13th-15th Centuries

·         Serghej Karpov, Lomonosov Moscow State University: Slavery in the Black Sea Region, 14th-15th Centuries

·         Oleksandr Halenko, Institute of History of Ukraine, Kyiv: Slavery Trends in the Ottoman Black Sea in the Light of Fiscal Documents from the 16th Century

11:00     Session 2 – Slavery among Christians

·         Daphne Penna, Groningen University: The Participation of Slaves in Byzantine Economic Activities, 10th–11th Centuries: Some Legal Aspects

·         Sandra Origone, University of Genoa: Christian Slave Traders, Slave Owners and Slaves in the 13th-15th Centuries

·         Viorel Achim, Nicolae Iorga Institute of History, Romanian Academy, Bucharest: The Orthodox Church and the Emancipation of the Gypsy Slaves in the Romanian Principalities, Mid-19th Century

13:30     Session 3 – The Circassian Question

·         Hannah Barker, Rhodes College, Memphis: The Tatar-Circassian Shift in Comparative Perspective

·         Natalia Królikowska-Jedlińska, University of Warsaw: Slaves of the Crimean Khan or Muslim Warriors? On the Status of Circassians in the Early Modern Period

14:45     Session 4 – Crimea (1): Raiders

·         Andrzej Gliwa, University of Warsaw: How the Captives Were Taken: The Making of Tatar Slave Raids in the Early Modern Period

·         Victor Ostapchuk and Maryna Kravets, University of Toronto: In Search of Slaves Among the Vanished: Cossack Captive-Taking and the Modalities of Unfreedom

16:00     Session 5 – Crimea (2): Slaves and Captives

·         Mikhail Kizilov, Centre of Russian Folklore, Moscow: Polish Slaves in the Ottoman and Tatar Crimea (1475-1774): Survey of the Problem with Special Focus on the Seventeenth Century

·         Aleksandr Lavrov, Paris-Sorbonne University: How Many Slaves from Ukraine and Muscovy Were There in the Crimean Khanate in the 17th Century?

17:00     Drinks (Coffee room, Huizinga)

WEDNESDAY, 31 MAY 2017 – Lipsius Building, Room 1.48

09:15     Session 6 – Slaves in the City: Istanbul

·         Gulay Yilmaz, Akdeniz University, Antalya: Unfree Labor in the Palace Gardens of the Ottoman Empire, 16th-17th Centuries

·         Nida Nebahat Nalçacı, Bilkent University, Ankara: The Labour of POWs in the City of İstanbul

10:30     Session 7 – The Big Picture: The Black Sea and Global Slavery

·         Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, University of Warsaw / Polish Academy of Sciences: Slavery and Slave Trade in the Atlantic and the Black Sea: A Comparative View

·         Ehud Toledano, Tel Aviv University: Models of Global Enslavement

11:45     Session 8 – Round table: Conclusions

Last Modified: 22-05-2017