CFP: Global Perspectives on Free and Unfree Labour in Capitalist Societies

 Sidney Chalhoub: Slavery and Freedom in the Nineteenth Century

Evening Lecture, November 26, 2015 – 6:15 - 8:00 pm

Departement of History, Seminar room 1, Hirschgässlein 21, 4051 Basel

Transversal Research Seminar of the Basel Graduate School of History, in cooperation with the Chair of Modern History and the Chair of African History

Sidney Chalhoub and Martin Lengwiler, Julia Tischler

Global Perspectives onFree and Unfree Labour in Capitalist Societies

Workshop, November 27, 2015 – 12:00 - 5:00 pm Departement of History, Seminar room 1, Hirschgässlein 21, 4051 Basel Organized by Martin Lengwiler and Julia Tischler

The history of capitalism has been experiencing a revival in the past few years, particularly with regard to the ambivalent notions of freedom in (emerging) capitalist societies. Several studies, written from a comparative or ‘entangled’ perspective, have put pressure on the earlier association between capitalism and free wage labour, showing how processes of commodification and the emergence of larger markets could also lead to a reinforcement of coercive labour regimes or even brought forth new ones.

We are delighted to have Sidney Chalhoub (Campinas, Brazil / Harvard) as a renowned expert to debatethese topics. His research and writing focus on the social history of Brazil in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His most recent book, „A força da escravidão: ilegalidade e costume no Brasil oitocentista (2012)“, is an analysis of illegal enslavement and the precariousness of freedom in nineteenth-century Brazil. 

In his lecture, Prof. Chalhoub will draw comparisons between slavery in Brazil and the US, regarding thepolitics of dominance over slave workers, the slave trade (African and internal), access to manumission and the precariousness of freedom. Analysing contrasts and similarities between Brazil and the US, he will discuss the entanglement between the worlds of slavery and free labor in the nineteenth century.

The workshop seeks to explore the slippery boundary between free and unfree labour and its role forcapitalist economies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – a question that has led to important, but yet insufficiently interconnected debates in different regional historiographies. Providing a framework to our discussion, Sidney Chalhoub, Martin Lengwiler (Basel) and Julia Tischler (Basel), will offer brief insights into the respective historiographies in South America, Europe, and Africa. Secondly, selected doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers will present their work.

To participate in the workshop, please register no later than October 30, 2015(September 30, if you would like to present a paper): bgsh.geschichte.unibas.ch/registration

Workshop series „Wirtschaftsgeschichte. Aktuelle Zugänge in transepochaler und transkultureller Perspektive / Histoire économique. Nouvelles Perspectives à cheval sur les époques et les cultures“. Information: roberto.sala@unibas.ch. Graduate Program of History, University of Zurich; Basel Graduate School of History, University of Basel; Programme doctoral en histoire contemporaine, CUSO




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