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HomeGender in Slave and Post-Emancipation Societies in Global Contexts

Gender in Slave and Post-Emancipation Societies in Global Contexts

Le genre dans les sociétés esclavagistes et post-esclavagistes : approches globales

El género en las sociedades esclavistas y post-esclavistas: enfoques globales

O gênero nas sociedades escravistas e pós-escravistas: abordagens globais

« Esclavages et Post-Esclavages / Slaveries and Post-Slaveries » Journal

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Published on Thursday, October 27, 2022


The last two decades have witnessed an uptick in the production of scholarly literature concerning enslaved, emancipated, and free women in slave societies in the Atlantic World. More recently, scholars have also begun to examine femininity and masculinity, nonbinary gender expression, nonnormative sexualities, and the family as lenses through which to understand the making and maintaining of those societies. In this special issue of Esclavages & Post-Esclavages / Slaveries & Post-Slaveries, the editors seek to build on and extend this work by focusing on gender, as an analytical frame and category, in slave and post-emancipation societies beyond and/or in comparison with the Atlantic basin. We aim to understand the influence of Atlantic world scholarship on global slave studies, while also attending to contextual distinctions outside of the Atlantic context.


Scientific Editors

  • Sarah J. Zimmerman, Associate Professor of History, Western Washington University
  • Nathan Marvin, Assistant Professor of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


This issue seeks to use gender as a category of analysis to compare and contrast global histories of slavery and their legacies. The last two decades have witnessed an uptick in the production of scholarly literature concerning enslaved, emancipated, and free women in slave societies in the Atlantic World. More recently, scholars have also begun to examine femininity and masculinity, including sexual violence committed against enslaved men and boys (Vainfas 2014, Aidoo 2018, Foster 2019), nonbinary gender expression (Snorton 2017), nonnormative sexualities and the family as a window for understanding the creation and maintenance of these societies. In this special issue, the editors will build on and extend this work by focusing on gender, as an analytical frame and category, in slave and post-emancipation societies beyond and/or in comparison with the Atlantic basin. In seeking scholarship sited geographically and chronologically outside of the “Atlantic world” context, we seek “to narrate differentiated histories of slavery, while maintaining a continued attentiveness to the epistemological hegemony of the Atlantic model” (Arondekar 2016: 153). We prioritize gender to better understand the conventions that define personhood and shape sexuality and the family in slave and post-emancipation societies. Gender is an important component of how enslavability, slave status, and the legacies of slavery are experienced by individuals and communities. As Judith Butler noted, “gender is not always constituted coherently or consistently in different historical contexts, and…gender intersects with racial, class, ethnic, sexual, and regional modalities of discursively constituted identities” (Butler 1990: 6). This issue calls attention to the contingencies and contextual factors that shape gender norms and identities in slave societies beyond the geographies and temporalities of the Atlantic world. The editors welcome submissions that include (but are not limited to) research articles, biographies, literature review essays, methodological essays, and appraisals of archives and sources.

Gender emerged as a critical category of analysis at the intersection of post-structuralism, postmodernism, and a third wave feminism informed by black, queer, and international feminists. These theoretical (re)framings combined to destabilize sexed binaries and dismantle universalistic assumptions about womanhood. They also drew attention to the hegemony of patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy in producing gendered subjects. Gender came to be understood as “a primary field within which or by means of which power is articulated” (Scott 1988: 45). As gender became a critical field of inquiry, scholars also called attention to intersectionality (Crenshaw 1989), and critiqued the “ethnocentric universalism” in the production of “third-world” women, and assumptions about gender relations outside of the “West” (Mohanty 1988). Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyèwùmí echoed Mohanty’s critique and then argued for decoupling gender and biology so that we can better understand how forces of universalism, facilitated by colonialism and globalization, have attempted to make sexed and gendered binaries uniform and “natural.” In more recent years, scholars have devoted new energy to denaturalizing and disassociating gender from its “one-dimensional modern European association with binary sexual difference” (Sinha 2012: 358). Emphasizing gender as an expansive category of analysis allows us to reconsider the history of sexuality, denaturalizing “underlying assumptions about the universality of the hetero/homo divide” (Mitra 2020: 8), and opening up new avenues for including both non-binary gender and so-called “deviant” and “divergent” sexualities in the history of slavery in comparative and global contexts.

Slavery has existed in a multitude of forms from antiquity to the present and on virtually every continent. The transatlantic slave trade and its legacies have long dominated research on slavery. This body of work has expanded historiographical debates and has produced multidisciplinary and intersectional frameworks through which to historicize slave societies and better understand identity, personhood, and sexuality. In studies of the Atlantic world, gender has become a crucial axis by means of which to examine slavery in relation to legal theory, liberalism, religious jurisprudence and practice, and political economy among other concepts. Scholars have mobilized and refined this premise to portray how slave owners and the people they enslaved contested the terms and manifestation of gendered domination (Morgan 2004, Jones-Rogers 2019). Within studies of slave societies, scholars employ gender analysis to recast histories of labor, biological reproduction, kinship, heteronormativity, religious authority, intimacy, violence, etc. (Aidoo 2018, Vidal 2019, Johnson 2020, Morgan 2021). The production of historical knowledge, the assemblage of the archive, and its inherent silences reveal the operation of gendered authority and the discursive power in slave societies (Fuentes 2016, White 2019). The lens of gender and sexuality has provided new opportunities to understand the world being built and to imagine the future of enslaved and formerly enslaved populations (Peabody 2017, Semley 2017, Félix & Larcher 2018). The historiography on gender and slavery outside of the “Atlantic world” context is growing (Chatterjee 1999, Zilfi 2010, Jones 2011, Hua 2014, Gordon & Hain 2017, Argit 2020, Herzog 2021), and a new volume on the global history of slavery insists on the central role of gender in contexts dating back to antiquity. (Rossi 2021, Perry et al, 2021).

The editors welcome contributions that engage with the following:

  • Theorizations of the dynamic intersection of gender and slavery, as well as historiographical overviews of related subjects.
  • The production of epistemic knowledge surrounding slavery and gender, in and beyond the archive.
  • Methodological analysis of sources, which include written sources, digital databases, oral traditions, archaeology, material production, etc.
  • Centering the historical experiences of enslaved people through intersectional analysis.
  • Analysis of gendered norms, gendered roles, and sexuality within slave societies.
  • Gender in relation to biological or social reproduction within slave societies and post-slavery societies.
  • Examination of gender in slave societies co-constituted by the violent processes of colonialism, imperialism, militarization, immigration, genocide, environmental degradation, etc.
  • The gendered legacies of slavery among free(d) people or broadly in post-emancipation societies.
  • Examination of the gendered manner in which local, national, and international actors produce public history and collective memory concerning slavery.
  • The use of gendered analysis to engage in comparative examples of slavery across chronologies and geographies.

Guidelines for submissions

Short summaries of proposed articles (500-800 words) must be sent to ciresc.redaction@cnrs.fr

by December 5, 2022.

The articles themselves (45,000 characters maximum, inclusive of spaces and bibliography), which may be written in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese, must be submitted by February 28, 2023. They should be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 3,600 characters inclusive of spaces. Comprehensive guidance for authors is accessible here.

The selected articles will be published in the journal Esclavages & post~esclavages/Slaveries & Post~Slaveries in November 2023.

Editorial Committee

The editorial committee is the backbone of the journal: composed of French and foreign specialists, it guarantees the scientific quality and editorial line of the publication. It meets three times a year (and up to twice a month in the context of the founding of the journal), examining and deciding on proposals for thematic dossiers, ensuring an initial evaluation of the texts proposed, and monitoring recent publications in the field. It decides whether or not to publish the articles submitted, depending on the opinions of scientific and technical experts. Agendas are circulated in advance of meetings to allow everyone to make comments. Decisions taken at committee meetings are final. Validated minutes are used to record their content.

  • António de Almeida Mendes (université de Nantes, CRHIA, France)
  • Cédric Audebert (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, LC2S, France)
  • Dimitri Béchacq (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, LC2S, France)
  • Klara Boyer-Rossol (École pratique des hautes études, France)
  • Audrey Celestine (université de Lille, CERAPS, France)
  • Gaetano Ciarcia (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, IMAF, France)
  • Elisabeth Cunin (Institut de recherche pour le Développement, URMIS, France)
  • Ary Gordien (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, LARCA, France)
  • Martha Jones (Johns Hopkins University, Département d’histoire, États-Unis)
  • Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec (université de Sherbrooke, Département d’histoire, Canada)
  • Beatriz Mamigonian (université fédérale de Santa Catarina, Département d’histoire, Brésil)
  • Nicolas Martin-Breteau (université de Lille, CECILLE, France)
  • Hebe Mattos (université fédérale de Juiz de Fora / université fédérale Fluminense, LABHOI, Brésil)
  • Sakiko Nakao (Kyoto Seika University, Department of Global Studies, Faculty of Global Culture, Japon)
  • Lotte Pelckmans (SAXO-Institute - Archaeology, Ethnology, Greek & Latin, History, Danemark)
  • Dominique Rogers (université des Antilles, AIHP, France)
  • Romy Sanchez (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, IRHIS, France)
  • Anna Seiderer (université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, AIAC, France)
  • Alessandro Stanziani (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France / École des hautes études en sciences sociales, CRH, France)
  • Ibrahima Thioub (université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, CARTE, Sénégal)
  • Elvan Zabunian (université Rennes 2, Département d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie, France)

International Scientific Committee

The international scientific committee includes renowned specialists. In particular, it is called upon to evaluate and proofread texts.

  • Ana Lucia Araujo (université d’Howard, États-Unis)
  • Mads Anders Baggesgaard (université d’Aarhus, Danemark)
  • Gwyn Campbell (McGill University, Canada)
  • Marina Candido (University of Notre-Dame, États-Unis)
  • Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (université Paris Diderot, France)
  • Madeleine Dobie (Columbia University, États-Unis)
  • Laurent Dubois (Duke University, États-Unis)
  • Roquinaldo Ferreira (Brown University, États-Unis)
  • Alejandro de la Fuente (Harvard University, États-Unis)
  • Chouki El Hamed (University of Arizona, États-Unis)
  • Aline Helg (université de Genève, Suisse)
  • Paulin j. Hountondji (université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin)
  • Martin Klein (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Jane Landers (Vanderbilt University, États-Unis)
  • Paul Lovejoy (York University, Canada)
  • Joel Quirk (université de Witwatersrand, Afrique du Sud)
  • Benedetta Rossi (University of Birmingham, Royaume-Uni)
  • Dale Tomich (University of Binghamton, États-Unis)
  • Michael Zeuske (université de Leipzig, Allemagne)


Aidoo, Lamonte, 2018. Sex, Power, and Violence in Brazilian History, Durham, Duke University Press.

Argit, Betül İpşirli, 2020. Life after the Harem: Female Palace Slaves, Patronage, and the Imperial Ottoman Court, New York, Cambridge University Press. 

Arondekar, Anjali, 2016. “What More Remains: Slavery, Sexuality, South Asia,” History of the Present, vol. 6, n°2, p.146-154.

Butler, Judith, 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York, Routledge.

Chatterjee, Indrani, 1999. Gender, Slavery, and Law in Colonial India, New Delhi, Oxford University Press.

Foster, Thomas A., 2019. Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violations of Enslaved Men, Athens, Georgia, The University of Georgia Press.

Fuentes, Marisa J., 2016. Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Germain, Félix F. & Silyane Larcher (eds), 2018. Black French Women and the Struggle for Equality, 1848-2016, Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press.

Gordon, Matthew & Kathryn A. Hain (eds.), 2017. Concubines and Courtesans: Women and Slavery in Islamic History, New York, Oxford University Press.

Herzog, Shawna, 2021. “Gender and Slavery in Asia.”, in Slavery and Bonded Labor in Asia, 1250–1900, Leiden, Brill, p. 77–108.

Hua, Hsieh Bao, 2014. Concubinage and Servitude in Late Imperial China, Lanham, Lexington Books.

Johnson, Jessica Marie, 2020. Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Jones, Eric, 2011. Wives, Slaves, and Concubines: A History of the Female Underclass in Dutch Asia, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Jones-Rogers, Stephanie E., 2019. They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, New Haven, Yale University Press.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, 1988. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses”, Feminist Review, vol. 30, n°1, p. 61-88.

Morgan, Jennifer L., Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Morgan, Jennifer L., 2021. Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic, Durham, Duke University Press.

Oyěwùmí, Oyèrónkẹ́, 1997. The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Peabody, Sue, 2017. Madeleine's Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies, New York, Oxford University Press.

Perry, Craig, Eltis, David, Engerman, Stanley L. & David Richardson, 2021. “Slavery in the Medieval Millennium”, in Perry, Craig, Eltis, David, Engerman, Stanley L. & David Richardson (eds.), The Cambridge World History of Slavery, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 1-24.

Rossi, Benedetta, 2021. “Genre”, in Les mondes de l’esclavage : une histoire comparée, Ismard, Ismard, Vidal, Cécile & Benedetta Rossi (dir.), Paris, Seuil, 2021.

Scott, Joan Wallach, 1988. Gender and the Politics of History, New York, Columbia University Press.

Semley, Lorelle, 2017. To Be Free and French: Citizenship in France’s Atlantic Empire, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Sinha, Mrinalini, 2012. “A Global Perspective on Gender”, in South Asian Feminisms, Loomba, Ania & Ritty A. Lukose (eds.), Durham, Duke University Press, p. 356-374.

Snorton, C. Riley, 2017. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, Minneapolis, University Of Minnesota Press.

Vainfas, Ronaldo, 2014. “Sodomy, Love, and Slavery in Colonial Brazil: A Case Study of Minas Gerais during the Eighteenth Century” in Sex, Power and Slavery, Campbell, Gwyn & Elizabeth Elbourne, Athens, Ohio University Press, 2014.

Vidal, Cécile, 2019. “Femmes et genre dans les historiographies sur les sociétés avec esclavage (Caraïbes anglaise et française, xviie-mi-xixe siècle)”, Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, n°50, p. 189-210.

White, Sophie, 2019. Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana. Williamsburg, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Zilfi, Madeline, 2010. Women and Slavery in the late Ottoman Empire: The Design of Difference. New York, Cambridge University Press.


  • CIRESC - Campus Condorcet - Bâtiment de recherche Sud - 5, cours des Humanités
    Aubervilliers, France (93)


  • Monday, December 05, 2022


  • genre, identité, esclavage, post-esclavage, histoire sociale, histoire culturelle


  • Pierrine Malette
    courriel : pierrine [dot] malette [at] univ-eiffel [dot] fr

Information source

  • Pierrine Malette
    courriel : pierrine [dot] malette [at] univ-eiffel [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Gender in Slave and Post-Emancipation Societies in Global Contexts », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, October 27, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/19t4

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