Captivity and Ransom in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Seminar 2019 Spring Workshop
May 3+4, 2019 at Brown University

Traumatic, brutal and violent dynamics of captivity and bondage were crucial to the formation of Mediterranean cultures and institutions, and to the circulation of ideas as well as peoples. The Mediterranean presents an ideal geography within which to explore the larger issues raised by captivity, such as power structures, race and ethnicity, inter-religious and inter-cultural relations, gender, economic networks, and violence. The great inland sea is the space where Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East meet; Mediterranean practices of captivity came to have still more global implications with the spread of European colonialism. Contemporary crises in the displacement, migration, and resettlement of refugees in Afroeurasia tragically underscore the ongoing relevance of this problem in the modern day. At an international conference held at Brown, an interdisciplinary group of Brown faculty and scholars from other institutions will explore and debate the dynamics of Mediterranean captivity from antiquity to the present.