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January 06 , 2011

Children in Slavery through the Ages


Significant numbers of the people enslaved throughout world history have been children. The vast literature on slavery has grown to include most of the history of this ubiquitous practice, but nearly all of it concentrates on the adult males whose strong bodies and laboring capacities preoccupied the masters of the modern Americas. Children in Slavery through the Ages examines the children among the enslaved across a significant range of earlier times and other places; its companion volume will examine the children enslaved in recent American contexts and in the contemporary/modern world.

This is the first collection to focus on children in slavery. These leading scholars bring our thinking about slaving and slavery to new levels of comprehensiveness and complexity. They further provide substantial historical depth to the abuse of children for sexual and labor purposes that has become a significant humanitarian concern of governments and private organizations around the world in recent decades.

The collected essays in Children in Slavery through the Ages fundamentally reconstruct our understanding of enslavement by exploring the often-ignored role of children in slavery and rejecting the tendency to narrowly equate slavery with the forced labor of adult males. The volume’s historical angle highlights many implications of child slavery by examining the variety of children’s roles—as manual laborers and domestic servants to court entertainers and eunuchs—and the worldwide regions in which the child slave trade existed.

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