By Ehud R. Toledano
The publication seems to be on the bonds of slavery from an unique viewpoint, relocating clear of the normal master/slave domination paradigm towards the viewpoint of the enslaved and their responses to their plight. With willing and unique insights, Toledano indicates new methods of pondering enslavement.
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Additional info for As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East
27. For more on this, see Toledano, Slavery and Abolition, Chapter 4. 24 understanding enslavement as a human bond • presentation of the removal of enslaved persons from their homes into Ottoman societies as an instance of coerced migration creating forced diasporas Taking these together as constituent parts of a unified approach, we can, it is hoped, shed some light on an important aspect of Ottoman social history. Patronage and Attachment: The Master-Slave Paradigm Revisited In Ottoman societies, as in many other Islamic and non-Islamic societies, enslavement was one of the “modes of belonging” to a social unit.
Out of this wealth of human experiences, I wish to concentrate here on one phenomenon—the trade in Africans and Circassians coerced to come to the Ottoman Empire and enslaved during the long nineteenth century. But I would like to look at it not as an economic or political phenomenon but as a question of cultural inflow, interaction, and fusion. 44 Scholars have covered the traffic from Africa and the Caucasus, described the main routes, determined the types of slaves, their prices, the customs duties levied on them, the jobs they performed, the social roles they played.
Although quantitative and statistically acceptable studies in this area are relatively rare, qualitative, in-depth, thick-description-type work is fairly common. We now possess significant contributions by Ottomanists that help most of us feel comfortable with the economic, social, and cultural environment of our research. The excellent studies of the physical surroundings, material culture, social conditions, and economic and political realities make it possible to embed most of the enslaved life-stories in their appropriate urban, rural, or pastoral settings.