The Problem of Slavery as History A Global Approach Joseph C. Miller

The David Brion Davis Series
Publication date:
27 Mar 2012
Yale University Press
240 pages: 235 x 156 x 15mm
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Why did slavery—an accepted evil for thousands of years—suddenly become regarded during the eighteenth century as an abomination so compelling that Western governments took up the cause of abolition in ways that transformed the modern world? Joseph C. Miller turns this classic question on its head by rethinking the very nature of slavery, arguing that it must be viewed generally as a process rather than as an institution. Tracing the global history of slaving over thousands of years, Miller reveals the shortcomings of Western narratives that define slavery by the same structures and power relations regardless of places and times, concluding instead that slaving is a process which can be understood fully only as imbedded in changing circumstances.

Joseph C. Miller is T. Cary Johnson Jr. Professor in the Department of History at the University of Virginia and a pre-eminent historian of world slavery. He lives in Charlottesville, VA.

"Breathtaking in its erudition, The Problem of Slavery as History speaks forcefully to the canon of slavery scholarship. It takes a provocative stance against the prevailing interpretation and challenges us to think hard and critically about how we have written the history of slavery. Miller''s work is a truly brilliant scholarly statement that deserves the widest attention."--James Brewer Stewart, Macalester College