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Bondage color ethnicity human in italy

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In this highly original work, Steven A. Epstein shows that the ways Italians employ words and think about race and labor are profoundly affected by the language used in medieval Italy to sustain a system of slavery.

The author's findings about the surprising persistence of the "language of slavery" demonstrate the difficulty of escaping the legacy of a shameful past.

In this highly original work,...

For Epstein, language is crucial to understanding slavery, for it preserves the hidden conditions of that institution. He begins his book by discussing the words used to conduct and describe slavery in Italy, from pertinent definitions given in early dictionaries, to the naming of slaves by their masters, to the ways in which bondage has been depicted by Italian writers from Dante to Primo Levi and Antonio Gramsci.

Epstein then probes Italian legal history, tracing the evolution of contracts for buying, selling, renting, and freeing people. Next he considers the behaviors of slaves and slave owners as a means of exploring how concepts of liberty and morality changed over time. He concludes by analyzing the language of the market, where medieval Italians used words to fix the prices of people they bought and sold.

The first history of slavery in Italy ever published, Epstein's work has important implications for other societies, particularly America's. Epstein concedes that the Italian contribution to slavery has been insignificant in global terms but that Italy's medieval experience with slavery has colored modern language about color and ethnicity The third Bondage color ethnicity human in italy chapter deals with day-to-day life for slaves: Epstein combs through notarial charters in search of language that is 'personal' rather than formulaic in order to humanize this picture of domestic slaves' daily life.

This chapter and the following one on the Great Economy explore the heritage of medieval slavery for the plantation system in the New World, which will be of interest to those who study slave systems in the modern world. Throughout his study, Epstein pays attention to the practice of slavery on the islands of the Mediterranean and in overseas colonies of Italian city-states This monograph presents a case for a historical memory of slavery that colors modern discourse in Italy and carries important implications for perceptions of race and ethnicity.

Epstein's study is successful on two fronts. First, he successfully challenges the alienation of discussions of New World slavery to the American context; moreover, he demonstrates that the attitudes of explorers like Christopher Columbus cannot be separated from preexisting slave traditions and language traditions.

While the international slave market lost its stronghold long ago, the language established to support it still shapes ideas about race.

In the end, the relationship between early Italian slavery "Bondage color ethnicity human in italy" Italian ideas about ethnicity is still evident in the language used to talk about color and race, specifically the language reserved for immigrant laborers and ethnic minorities living in Italy today.

Originally conceived and thoroughly researched, Speaking of Slavery is a significant accomplishment. In this fine and nuanced study of the largely non-racial slavery of medieval Italy, Steven Epstein not only retrieves for historical memory an insufficiently known episode of the Old World's past.

He also shows how the normalization through language of human servitude would provide a discursive foundation for the racial slavery of the New World, and leave a poisoned linguistic legacy for a modernity characterized simultaneously by freedom and equality for some and bondage and inequality for others.

Epstein's persuasive notion of the corrupting and normalizing language of medieval slavery will effect a permanent change in the way in which Italian slavery will be approached in the future. His pioneering, well written and constructed study is very timely, and it is to be hope that it will provide a lead for other much needed investigations of the culture of Italian slavery, both historical and interdisciplinary. He makes it clear that slavery's significance in Italian history is more cultural than economic; although he does discuss the kinds of work that slaves did, he is more concerned with the intellectual and social implications of markets than with quantifying the contributions of slaves to In the later Middle Ages women slaves outnumbered men slaves, while among free servants men were the minority.

Epstein implies that the feminization of free domestic service in sixteenth-century Venice may be a result of the decline of slavery and the replacement of female domestic slaves by free female servants A final contribution of Epstein's Bondage color ethnicity human in italy is to set slavery in the context of servanthood and poverty.

Servants and poor laborers were not legally property, but their lives might be in effect quite similar to those of slaves, and the kind of language used about them could be similar as well. Many interesting individual stories and insights Epstein's work will profoundly change the ways in which we think about slavery in the context of European culture. Title Speaking of Slavery. Publisher Cornell University Press.

Ruth Mazo Karras, "Speaking of...

Title First Published 18 January Publication Ithaca, United States. Main content page count Illustrations 1 color plate 1 plates, color.

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Dimensions 6 x 9 in. Product Detail Trade paperback US. Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past. Race and Ethnicity Studies.

Newsletters Comment Print this "Bondage color ethnicity human in italy." Speaking of Slavery "Each chapter sets up a dialogue between medieval language about slavery and language in more recent times—for example, in the Risorgimento, the anti-slavery movement in Italy, colonial experience, and fascism.

Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy. of Italy, over the past century a few scholars have studied Italian slavery in local or regional. Free Online Library: Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy. (Reviews). by "Renaissance Quarterly"; Humanities, general Literature. Loading data. Open Bottom Panel.

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