Subject: Reminder: Speaker Series - Sam Bass - Apr 17th, 2018, 5:30 PM, Natsagdorj library

The Bound Steppe: Notes on Enslavement in Qing Mongolia

Where: American Corner, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
When: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
In this presentation, he briefly examines several archival examples of enslavement to illustrate important topics and challenges in the history of slavery in Mongolia: the phenomenon of slavery skepticism in Inner Asian history, the terminology of enslavement in early modern Mongolia, and the seeming disappearance of slavery as a formal practice in the nineteenth century. Mongolia’s historical record is replete with references to captivity, enslavement, and release from bondage. Despite the ubiquity of these references, there are few studies of slavery as a historical issue in Mongolian history. Scholars have instead argued that slavery was either insignificant or absent in pastoral nomadic Inner Asian societies including Mongolia, based on a dubious methodology of applying modern ethnographic concepts to historical and archaeological data, and relying on the apparent ambiguity of terms for enslavement in Mongolia. Based on hundreds of wills and testaments from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries held in the Mongolian National Central Archives, I will analyze some of these terms in their contemporary context and compare them with the terminology of enslavement in other societies. Finally, I will examine the nineteenth century decline in instances of enslavement on the basis of the testamentary evidence and suggest factors that led to the decline, such as changes in family and labor practices. This project engages Mongolian social history by examining local level processes of social change in the context of enslavement and manumission (the release from bondage), phenomena generally relevant to early modern world history.
About the speaker: Sam Bass
He is a PhD candidate in History and Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. He is from Atlanta, Georgia, where he earned a degree in History from Georgia State University. His current research project examines the social history of slavery in Qing Mongolia focusing on family, illegitimacy, and the state in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is a Fulbright fellow in Ulaanbaatar affiliated with Mongolian National University. He is currently conducting research for his dissertation in the Mongolian National Central Archives and Mongolian Central Library.
The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting scholarship in Mongolian Studies. The ACMS Speaker Series are organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and the Natsagdorj Library and provides an important platform for researchers engaged in Mongolia to share their experiences and findings with the public. The event promotes information exchange on a variety of subjects related to Mongolia and is free and open to the public.

In an effort to reach interested viewers outside of Mongolia, this Speaker Series will be broadcast live on the ACMS Facebook page! All Facebook live videos can be re-played at your convenience.
Thank you to the American Corner and the Natsagdorj Library for sponsoring this event!

For more information visit the ACMS website
American Center for Mongolian Studies, 642 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States
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