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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History

Dr. Kyle Harper Lunchtime Colloquium in Comparative Slavery

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 12:30pm

Dr. Kyle Harper, Department of Classics and Letters, University of Oklahoma

Gambrell 431

Systems and Cultures of Mass Slavery: From the Roman Empire to the Modern World

Slavery has existed in numerous places and periods of global history.  In some historical settings (from the Roman Empire to the 19th century Caribbean and Southern US), slavery operated on larger scales, such that it became a fundamental part of politics, economic life, and culture.  What has caused and sustained these regimes of mass slavery?  What has led to their decline?  What commonalities and variations can we find in the cultural, economic, and political systems of societies with large-scale slavery?  How much can mass slavery be linked to certain recurring patterns of political and economic imperialism?  How much can it be tied to specific cultural traditions passed down from one or a few historical sources?

This lunchtime colloquium will feature a wide ranging discussion of slavery in a global comparative context.  Our starting point will be the work of Kyle Harper, Provost and Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, author of Slavery in the Later Roman Empire 275-425 (winner of the Breasted Prize in History for 2012). Brief commentary from scholars of mass slavery in diverse settings will be followed by open discussion of the subject.

Participants from across USC and the community are welcome.

Readings from Dr. Harper's book are below. They are highly recommended to all participants:


Chapter 1