Slaves and Religions in Graeco-Roman Antiquity and Modern Brazil
Editor: Stephen Hodkinson and Dick Geary
Date Of Publication: Apr 2012
Slaves have never been mere passive victims of slavery. Typically, they have responded with ingenuity to their violent separation from their native societies, using a variety of strategies to create new social networks and cultures. Religion has been a major arena for such slave cultural strategies. Through participation in religious and ritual activities, slaves have generated important elements of identity, shared humanity, and even resistance, within their lives.
This volume presents papers from a conference of the University of Nottingham’s Institute for the Study of Slavery – the only UK centre studying its history from antiquity to the present. It breaks new ground by juxtaposing slave strategies within the diverse religious cultures of Graeco-Roman antiquity and modern Brazil. After a wide-ranging historiographical survey, eleven experts examine how in both societies slave religious activities involved both constraints and opportunities, shedding particular new light on the neglected religious strategies of Graeco-Roman slaves.
Stephen Hodkinson is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham and Director of its Institute for the Study of Slavery (ISOS). His extensive publications on Spartan helotage and agrarian economy include Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (2000). He is co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Slaveries.
Dick Geary is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Nottingham and former Director of ISOS. After researching and publishing on European labour history, including European Labour Protest, 1848–1939 (1981) and European Labour Politics from 1900 to the Depression (1991), he is now researching comparisons of slave and free labour in Brazil and Western Europe.
“It was an excellent idea of the editors to study the relationship between slaves and religion in two very different societies. The ancient world of Greece and Rome was a far cry from that of modern Brazil. Yet the unusual and unique juxtaposition of these two slave societies gives this book a special importance. Looking at modern Brazil, one realises that slave origins were much less important in shaping the religious world of Greek and Roman slaves. Looking at Greece and Rome, one sees the importance of the connection between religion and manumission. In both worlds the book’s most important feature is the shift from studying slavery as an institution in connection with religion to focusing on the agency of slaves in determining their own religious worlds. Thus this book is an important contribution to a deeper insight into the operation of both slavery and religion.”
– Jan N. Bremmer, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of Groningen, Netherlands
“The essays in this book highlight the significant role of religion for the enslaved. The chapters focusing on modern slavery pay particular attention to the role of African religions in the lives of the slaves as well as how those religions were transformed in the New World. Focusing on Brazil, these essays ably demonstrate the importance of religion for slave agency, for manumission and for resistance. This wide-ranging and innovative volume is a highly welcome addition to the literature.”
– Gad Heuman, Emeritus Professor, Department of History, University of Warwick; Editor of Slavery and Abolition
Price Uk Gbp: 44.99
Price Us Usd: 67.99
Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)