Historicizing Gender Norms in War

Through the unique collaboration of historians and non-governmental researchers, this Partnership aims to contextualize contemporary practices taking place in times of war. Histories of slavery and extreme exploitation often shape the relations of power in contemporary conflicts and resonate with the politics of international justice; yet these histories of slavery are often little understood or oversimplified. By historicizing contemporary enslavement, we can avoid the “recurrent tendency to downplay or disregard the historical dimensions of current problems, in favor of a problematic bifurcation between ‘new’ and ‘old’”. Indeed it is important, we would argue, to maintain a careful use of the term slavery and to avoid stretching its application beyond practices where “the powers attaching to ownership” or “a similar deprivation of liberty” are exercised over an individual or group. This research program will conduct further archival research pertaining to concubinage, pawnship, gender violence, and forced marriage in times of slavery and colonial conquest in order to historicize forced marriage in contemporary wars.