This compendium and the conference at which it originated raise a significant challenge by asking how we can implement a comparative framework for studying the impacts of slavery and captivity with an expanded temporal scope of millennia and a global geographic scale. In the individual case studies presented here we find some authors who are optimistic about such a comparative framework. We also find many who are quite cautious and who describe episodes of slavery and related racial ideologies and social structures that were historically contingent, context specific, and idiosyncratic in various dimensions. From a broad humanistic perspective, researchers also confront the question of whether to maintain a sense of analytic detachment while studying slavery, examining past case studies for the sake of general betterment through increased knowledge of world histories. Alternatively, analysts can focus on providing insights and evidence that facilitate the judgment and condemnation of particular societies that perpetrated systems of slavery and captivity. Such an activist approach also seeks to contribute to defeating bondage in the present.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology Of Slavery
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Approach To Captivity And Coercion
EditorsLydia Wilson Marshall
PublisherSouthern Illinois University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780809333981
ISBN (Print)9780809333974
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Fighting despair: Challenges of a comparative, global framework for slavery studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this