By Ehud R. Toledano
The e-book seems to be on the bonds of slavery from an unique standpoint, relocating clear of the conventional master/slave domination paradigm towards the perspective of the enslaved and their responses to their plight. With prepared and unique insights, Toledano indicates new methods of puzzling over enslavement.
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Extra resources for As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East
Can we include in the same category the following three well-differentiated groups: the privileged members of the Ottoman imperial elite; the many enslaved domestics; and the agricultural laborers? My own thinking—and that of others—has evolved over the past two decades. In the early 1980s, when my first work on the suppression of the Ottoman slave trade in the nineteenth century was published, I was keenly aware of the sensitivity of the subject and actively sought not to offend any of my readers.
He then made the point, which accords with one of the main arguments of our book, that the forced movement of enslaved persons was “one of the 41. , 359. 42. Clifford Geertz, Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988: 149. 43. M. (Local). ” Indeed, a number of important social and cultural insights concerning enslaved Africans and Circassians in the Ottoman Empire can be gained by examining their forced transportation as a type of migration. Even more can be learned by linking that to the study of diasporas, a study that has come into vogue during the past decade or so.
When successfully achieved, attachment to a household partially compensated the enslaved for the loss of kin back home, and not infrequently these men and women were accepted into the slaver’s family. We have already noted the significance of naming, which was part of a process of recreating the enslaved person’s new identity, often with the intention of wiping out the older identity. Past identities of the enslaved were invariably considered uncivilized, seriously deficient 37. See, for example, the interesting case of Ottoman-Egyptian kuls of Georgian origin in the eighteenth century in Daniel Crecelius and Gotcha Djaparidze, “Relations of the Georgian Mamluks of Egypt with Their Homeland in the Last Decades of the Eighteenth Century,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 45/3 (2002): 320–341.