9/10 -- Professor Bruce Hall Joins Stanford as a Visiting Scholar
Professor Bruce Hall joins Stanford as a visiting scholar to further research his project, “Bonds of Trade: Slavery and Commerce in the 19th-century circum-Saharan World.”
This project seeks to explain how slaves came to be used as commercial agents by trans-Saharan trade networks in the period before European colonial occupation of Africa. Employing slaves as traveling agents was an important means of overcoming problems of trust that were so crucial to the functioning of Saharan commerce.
The research confirms that slavery was highly adaptive to the social needs of merchants in African societies. Based on previously unknown Arabic letters written by members of a trans-Saharan commercial network in the nineteenth century, Bonds of Trade reveals the voices of enslaved Africans as they struggled and negotiated with their masters for greater autonomy and ultimately manumission