Alessandro Stanziani, Labor on the fringes of Empires, 2018


After the aboli­tion of slavery in the Indian Ocean and Africa, the world of labor remained unequal, exploi­ta­tive, and violent, stradd­ling a fine line between freedom and unfreedom. This book explains why. Unsea­ting the Atlantic para­digm of bondage and drawing from a rich array of colo­nial, estate, plan­ta­tion and judi­cial archives, Ales­sandro Stan­ziani inves­ti­gates the evolu­tion of labor rela­tion­ships on the Indian subcon­ti­nent, the Indian Ocean and Africa, with case studies on Assam, the Masca­rene Islands and the French Congo. He finds surpri­sing rela­tion­ships between African and Indian aboli­tion move­ments and Euro­pean labor prac­tices, invi­ting readers to think in terms of trans-oceanic connec­tions rather than simple oppo­si­tions. Above all, he consi­ders how the meaning and prac­tices of freedom in the colo­nial world differed profoundly from those in the main­land. Arguing for a multi-centered view of impe­rial dyna­mics, Labor on the Fringes of Empire is a pionee­ring global history of nine­teenth-century labor.


Ales­sandro Stan­ziani is Professor of Global History at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) at PSL Research Univer­sity, France. He has authored seven books and more than 130 peer reviewed articles and edited eight books.