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Vestiges of slavery CFS W15
Transcript of Vestiges of slavery CFS W15
Vestiges- continuation of relations of slavery after abolition
Governments (and other international orgs) have used word to indicate
--no longer considered oppressive
--no longer considered slavery
Others argue problematic b/c
--forms basis for social hierarchy & discrimination
--and 'vestiges' may be a way of not recognizing the way slavery may continue to manifest itself
(Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan)
--is ongoing discrimination any former slave populations 'vestiges' that we should be concerned about?
1980-81- Mauritania declared slavery was abolished
--Surprising, b/c French abolished in 1905
--slavery not legally recognized in Mauritanian constitution (1960)
- racial issue ('White' Arabs enslaving 'black' Africans)
- religious issue (problem of Islam and Sha'rai Law, implemented via Qadis)
A bit more complicated...
--'White Arabs' -- beidan
--descendants of Arabs & Berber populations
--influx of Arabs in 13-15th century
--war with Berbers
--Arabs won in 1644
--Arabization and Islamisation of Berbers
--French banned in 1905, but didn't end
--difficult to effect control in desert regions
--Islamic slavery represented in colonial discourse as rooted in religious 'tradition'
--to end would be disrespectful to customs, religion, etc
--to end, would lead to 'social disorder'
-religious ideology used/manipulated to maintain status quo
What kinds of experiences do slaves or former slaves have?
--claims slavery still exists despite legal abolition (20% of population)
--represented as a racial issue
--represented as a religious issue
Name that 'Religious Text'
slavery in Mauritania has "long been obscured by various political agendas shaping the society..complicated by the voices of the slaves and freed slaves. Far from providing unequivocal 'truths', they too are players in contemporary society; their voices are political..." (McDougall)
--El Hor (1978)
--reform islamic laws
--Haritan as a class identity
--freed several generations ago (Khadhara)
--newly freed (haratin)
--still in relationship with beidan family (Abid)
ASI & Media-- pressure government for abolition in 1980/81
--Gov. institutes land reforms in 1983
--El Hor Founder incorporated into Government as Minister of Rural Development
--at expense of Afro-Mauritanians (FLAM)
Not aligned with Afro-Mauritians
--consider Haritans to be a part of beidan social, economic, cultural system, rather than Afro-Mauritians
--Haritan class identity focuses on political power/economic power
Gov-- allows UN investigation in 1984 (Why?)
--Working Group de-legitimised government, taking El Hor position (abolition not enforced, compensation - to owners- not paid)
--Gov criminalizes speaking about slavery
Language of slavery-- used to promote class identity in relation to economic, social and political power
--doesn't necessarily speak to actual conditions
1991- Democratic Transition
--Haratin that gained political power obscured the lack of power among poorer Haratin
1995- SOS Esclaves
--slavery to highlight issues of economic poverty
--emancipation doesn't mean end of servitude-- more enslaved if society doesn't provide means of real economic advancement
battle for international development money
--NGOs or Government?
--Racial and religious (mis)representations make issue personal to United States
ASI Director -- "part of the problem is semantic. Words such as slavery, freedom, obligations have different meanings to different people"
---"masked understandings and interpretations of slavery that were pieces of identity construction" (McDougall)
--and politically malleble
--fluidity of conditions and identity of slavery over time
--b/c of economic conditions might move back and forth between relations of dependency and 'freedom'
Similar in Niger and Benin-- can be
"evoking a categorical status rather than actual condition"
--captured indigenous populations
--camel, sheet, goat herding
--freed slaves & descendants of freed slaves - Haratin
-- Afro-Mauritians - Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, Bambara
--but had their own slaves
--slaves tied to owning families through clientism, kinship, and lack of opportunities
--some freed, esp. men
--women tended to be kept - means to reproduce
--some freed via death of owner
Categories of freedmen & slaves fluid and difficult to determine
--many retain relations of semi-dependence with former masters
--do not want to risk losing livelihoods
-part of social capital
--others migrate, but still retain relations or re-enter when needed.
Independence in 1961
-slavery with no legal status, but continued
--droughts in 1970s-- more slaves manumitted b/c couldn't maintain
--Membership into Arab League in 1973
--shift development to North, away from Afro-Mauritanian community
has to be understood in context of:
--historical forms of slavery in region
--2nd Sudanese Civil War
"pre-colonial" Islamic kingdoms: 16th -19th c
--raided peripheries for "slave soldiers"
--didn't neccessarily limit one's influence or power
- terms associated with ethnic groups in southern portion came to connotate 'slave'
slavery existed prior to "pre-colonial" Islamic kingdoms
--different groups organized raiding of peripheral populations
--integrated into kinship structure
--means to expand territory
Turco-Egyptian Invasion- 1820
--utilized armies with 'slave soldiers'
--utilized armies with 'slave soldiers'
-created division between northern & southern Sudan
--separated on racial and religious ideologies
--Baggara (Rezeitgat in Darfur & Misseria in Kordofan)
Independence in 1956
--1st civil war - until 1972
Baggara used lands associated with Dinka for grazing livestock
--Intermarriage & social relations formed
2nd Civil War- 1983-2005
--SPLA - wanted to restore colonial border to protect economic/political interests
--Government organized Baggara militias to suppress
--raided Dinka communities
-abducted some for slavery in northern communities
-others displaced b/c of conflict & drought
Christian Solidarity International & American Anti-Slavery Group
--"bought" back slaves and relocated for $50
--claims redeemed 42,000 people
Is this a good strategy? What are the advantages & disadvantages?
Committee for Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC)
--negotiate with communities for freedom
--question of those who have married into the kin group
Politics of Language
--Sudanese government prefers to call 'forced labor' & abduction
--denies that these practices constitute slavery
2007-- actual criminalization of slavery