Call for Papers: "Colonialism, Slavery, and Local Histories in Early Modern Asia"

Merve Tosun Discussion

Deadline for paper abstracts: 3 April 2023


CONFERENCE "Colonialism, Slavery, and Local Histories in Early Modern Asia"

15 - 16 September 2023

Växjö, Sweden (and online)


This conference aims to bring together scholars working on early modern (local) histories of slavery, and slave trade, including related forms of forced labour and relocation in the wider Indian Ocean region, from Cape Town to Tokyo. We invite contributions that address these themes from a (structured) data perspective, or as new and starting research projects, or from a broader theoretical and connective angle.


The conference is partitioned in three sessions that centre around these perspectives:


(Historical) Data:

This session focuses on new data initiatives that aim to generate and / or link historical data relating to (local) histories of colonialism and / or slavery, and slave trade in early modern Asia. We invite contributions that address, for example:

  • Data extraction methods for historical documents
  • Structuring, modelling, and / or linking historical data
  • Entity linking in historical data


New research:

This session aims to stimulate discussion and connections between new research (projects) in the field of early modern colonialism, slavery and slave trade in Asia. We invite starting research projects to present their research approach, preliminary results, as well as a key issue for feedback, to foster dialogue and draw upon the expertise of other specialists. Contributions to this session could address, for example:

  • Historical source criticisms dealing with bias, selection and gaps
  • New analyses of historical data and / or sources
  • New micro, meso- or macrolevel histories of slavery and slave trade in Asia


New connections & perspectives:

This session aims to forge new connections and perspectives on early modern colonial interactions, forced labour, and forced relocations in Asia from a broader, theoretical angle. We invite contributions that address these points through, for example:

  • New theoretical or conceptual embeddings
  • New approaches to research and writing about colonial-local histories
  • New connections between historical processes or academic disciplines


The conference is organised by Hans Hägerdal (Linnaeus University) in collaboration with Merve Tosun (International Institute of Social History), Ulbe Bosme (International Institute of Social History), Matthias van Rossum (International Institute of Social History), and Claude Chevaleyre (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon). Attendance to the conference is free of charge. We can provide (limited) lodging at the conference venue for three nights and aim to reimburse travel costs as much as possible. In case of overspill, priority will be given to participants with no or limited institutional support.


Abstracts (±300 words) should describe the proposed paper and can be sent to Hans Hägerdal ( Please include a short biographical note and your current institutional affiliation in your submission. The deadline for paper abstracts is Monday 3 April 2023. Accepted contributors will be notified by 24 April 2023. Full papers (6.000 - 8.000 words) are due on 3 July 2023.