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Call for Papers:Trans-Saharan, Med.,...SlaveTrade & Slavery 27-30 Nov. '17 at UMYAR, Katsina


 

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE
THE TRANS-SAHARAN, MEDITERRANEAN/ RED SEAs AND THE INDIAN OCEAN SLAVE TRADE AND SLAVERY IN GENERAL AFRICAN HISTORY
UMARU YAR’ADUA UNIVERSITY, KATSINA.
27-30 N0VEMBER, 2017.

CALL FOR PAPERS AND PARTICIPATION;

BACKGROUND

The recent revival of scholarly interest in ‘forced migration’ or slavery, and the slave trade in Africa has tended to follow the pattern of earlier studies: a greater focus on external rather than their internal dimensions. This focus on external slavery is itself almost always one-sided, for the major concern has been on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In reality, however, internal slavery is broader than the Atlantic Slave Trade, and involves the trade in slaves across the Sahara, Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Peninsula as well as the Indian Ocean worlds. Its origins are by no means certain, but scholars have emphasized its ancient roots and modern manifestations. It is the opinion of a number of scholars that in cutting-off Mediterranean Europe from its traditional sources of white slaves from the Black Sea and the Balkans, the fall of Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire in 1453 turned Africa into a major source of slave labour. (Mckay and Bucklar, 1992; Miers, 1975; Manning, 1990.) Surely, a significant part of the huge state structures of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe and the Arab World could only have been at the expense of slave labour, a large part of which most probably came from Africa. Yet, the focus on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade seems to have led to a neglect of a critical component of the history of slavery and the slave trade in African societies. As Hunwick and Powell (2002) averred, “for every gallon of ink that has been spilt on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its consequences, only one very small drop has been spent on the study of the forced migration of black Africans into the Mediterranean world of Islam. From the ninth to the early twentieth centuries, probably as many black Africans were forcibly taken across the Sahara, up the Nile valley, and across the Red Sea, as were transported across the Atlantic in a much shorter period. Yet their story has not yet been told.”
A reversal in this trend seems to have begun in the past three decades. Scholarly attention seems to be shifting towards the study of internal slavery. One of the earliest efforts to focus on the Trans Saharan Slave Trade was at a Conference on the Trans Saharan Slave Trade organized by the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1987. The main objective of the Conference being the examination of the neglected trade across the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Arabian Peninsula. A year later, another Conference was organized in Italy, from similar, though slightly different, tangents. Both Conferences were concerned with addressing basically three questions: why is it that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which lasted for just about 3-4 centuries had produced a huge Diaspora across the Americas, while the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, which lasted for over 10 centuries, has produced a relatively small Diaspora?; What were the patterns of migration – both voluntary and forced – between Africa and the Arab world?; and Why did slavery lead to the establishment of plantations in one context and not in the other?
These and similar questions formed the basis for a growing interest on Slavery between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. This interest has been demonstrated in the expanding research output on the subject, clearly seen in publications such as the following: Slavery in the History of Muslim Black Africa by Humphrey J. Fisher (2001); African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Land of Islam by Hunwick and Powell (2002); Islam’s Black Slaves: A History of Africa’s Other Black Diaspora by Ronald Segal (2003); Slavery on the Frontiers of Islam by Paul E. Lovejoy (Ed.); Islam and the Abolition of Slavery by William Clarence Smith (2006) and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade by John Wright (2007).
These publications no doubt increased our understanding of the trans-Saharan slave trade. Still, some of the major questions raised in the introduction remain unaddressed. Even the most focused and interesting work on the subject – Hunwick and Powell’s – that drew on primary and original texts from the Qur’an and by Islamic writers to reveal the socio-religio-political contexts within which this ‘forced migration’ took place as well as open-up discussion on "the silence surrounding the experience of the relationships between the brutal culture of slavery and the rich traditions of the Islamic world’ leaves a lot of unbridged gaps and empty spaces.
Attempts have been made to address some of these gaps and spaces. One of such attempts was the Conference on Arab-led Slavery of Africans in February 2003 co-organised by the Centre for the Advanced Study of African Society (CASAS) of Cape Town and The Drammeh Institute of New York, in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was a follow-up in the context of the NGO Forum at the 2001 Durban Conference on Anti-Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR), both of which were intensely concerned with the silence surrounding the Afro-Arab Slave Trade, and of the need to more seriously and systematically begin to study it. More specifically, the Conference organizers were influenced by “the well-known fact that whereas, relatively, much more is known about the European led Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the history and reality of Arab-led Slavery of Africans continue to be an area of silence and darkness in African and non-African perceptions of African Society and History. Continuing, the conference declared that this activity did “provide for wider consumption, studies by scholars on this subject, and declared that “Africa served as the millennia-long reservoir for uncompensated labour obtained through brutal and dehumanizing processes for the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean areas and trade routes.” This was one of the major reasons that the Conference called for a “Civilisation dialogue between the Arab and the African peoples” as a first measure in not only addressing this ‘silence,’ but also in investigating some of the most profound but neglected areas in Afro-Arab relations.
Nearly 4 years later, UNESCO, in close collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Rabat and the Moroccan National Commission for UNESCO, heeded and actualized the call for such kind of dialogue by organizing an International Symposium with the theme “The Cultural Interactions Resulting from the Slave Trade and Slavery in the Arab-Islamic World” which held in Rabat and Marrakech in May 2007. The Symposium affirmed that research on the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, and especially on its patterns, dimensions and impact, is not comparable to that on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, leading to the recommendation that a network of researchers and research institutions working on this and similar thematic areas to deepen our understanding of the Trans Saharan Slave Trade be put in place. To underline the importance of this endeavour, a 5-member working group was formed to pursue this idea. Not much progress has been made on this since 2007.
The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) with Nigerian Ministry of Culture did organize a Symposium in Oct, 2012 in Calabar, Nigeria at PANAFSTRAG’s initiative but not participation. There is no Post-Symposium Proceedings/Publications in the public space yet. However, another group of Researchers were formed with Dr. Ishmael Montana of the University of Northern Illinois near Chicago in USA as the Coordinator, PANAFSTRAG interacted with the Coordinator and made a proposal to him in 2013 and he is yet to respond.
THE GENERAL OBJECTIVE: This Conference is thus organized in furtherance of the Theme as the General Objective.
THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES ARE;
-Setting up a research project and team of Researchers and Institutes on these key questions and if there is an offer by an African Institution to set up a Centre for the Study of this Theme.
- Raise preliminary and fundamental questions on one of the most significant, yet least studied aspects of African History: the slave trade and slavery between Africa through the Sahara, the Red and Mediterranean Seas and the Indian Ocean. And North Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean Islands and South East Asia.
- Open up discussions on an issue, unlike the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that has been shrouded to some extent in darkness, ambiguity and silence even within the academia.
-Make this aspect of African History part of the Slavery Memorial yet to be built at the UN Office in New York.

RATIONALE
 The Conference allows Scholars and institutions to further examine in a more systematic and empirical way the ‘other’ slave trade; analyse both the indigenous African, Arabian, Indian Ocean Islander and South-East Asian and other cultural contexts within which it took place. It seeks to also examine the complex and multiple dimensions of race, politics, economics, religion as well as issues of ‘hierarchy and sociality’ that slavery raises; generate questions about the African Diaspora in the Arabian Peninsula, Indian Ocean  Islands and South-East Asia; assess the patterns of slave raids, routes of transportation, and markets; discuss the internal and external social forces responsible for the forced migration of African labour to the Arabian Peninsula, Indian Ocean Islands and South East Asia; analyse the religio-political-economic  contexts/justifications for the trade, and  examine  its impact on victims and their descendants.
SUB-THEMES
1. Slave Trade and Slavery in the Arab, Turkish, Iranian and Asian Worlds: Sources, Approaches, Rationalizations.
2. Nature, Dimension, and Magnitude of the Slave Trade and Slavery in 1
3. The Social Organization of these Slave Trades: Labour, Routes, Markets, and Entrepôts
4. Internal and External Dynamics of the Trades: Demographic, Economic, Political and Cultural Relations/Implications
5. Diasporic Populations: Nature, Size and Role of the Black African Diaspora in North Africa, the Middle East,  Indian Ocean Islands and South-East Asia
6. Questions of Identity: Impact on Culture, Politics, Religion, and Identities in Africa, the Middle East, Indian Ocean Islands and South-East Asia.

METHODOLOGY.
There will be a 3 working day Conference with Keynote and Lead Speakers, Panel Sessions and Individual presentations in plenary and parallel sessions.
Power Point Presentation for not less than 20 minutes (for Presenters and Panelists) shall be the modus operandi.
OUTPUT
A three (3) year    research    programme will be designed    to    address    the sub-themes    outlined    above    two     in order to   formulate    a    research    project   to build on the existing research and studies of    the  nature,  patterns,  dimensions,  dynamics and  implications    of    the     Theme.    More     specifically, the   Conference will lead to energise and expand the existing network which   will   create a research network through the identification of researchers and institutions, set timelines for research, and assign and share responsibilities for the overall project. The coordination of the project may   be      determined by the AU and UNESCO. 

EXPECTED OUTCOMES
 Facilitating and    expanding    the    regional    network    of    Researchers    and    Research      
                                                   Institutions   .      
 Developing a methodology for and conducting an in-­‐depth study of the Theme    as     part     of     the     General History of Africa  
 Expanding the   body of   knowledge   on   World   Slave   Routes, Slavery and   their impact on cultures, religions and politics.   
 Publish   the   results   of   the   research   and   disseminate     it   widely   across   Africa as part   of the   General History   of    Africa.

VENUE:  UMARU YAR ‘ADUA UNIVERSITY KATSINA VIA KANO (NIGERIA)   

DATES:
SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS    01 July, 2017
ABSTRACTS ACCEPTANCE DEADLINE      20 July, 2017
SUBMISSION OF FULL PAPERS    20 September, 2017
CONFERENCE                   26-30 November, 2017


PARTICIPATION FEES
Presenters    150 USD (from outside Africa)
Presenters from Africa  125 USD
Students and non-presenters 50USD

ALL ABSTRACTS TO
Coordinator/Contact Person- International Scientific Committee
DR. ABUBAKAR SANII BABAJO; saniibabajo@yahoo.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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