We have invited Dr Alice Rio, Lecturer in Medieval History at Kings College, London. Alice is currently working on slavery and unfreedom between the 5th and the 12th centuries, on which she is preparing a monograph and a sourcebook. More generally, she is interested in the social history of late antique and early medieval Europe, particularly in the Frankish kingdoms under the Merovingians and Carolingians.
Her seminar will discuss questions raised by her work in progress, dealing
“mainly with the question of what happened to slavery after the end of the Roman empire. The transformation of Europe from a continent of slave-owners to one (chiefly) of serf-managers clearly represents a dramatic social change, but the trajectory between these two situations remains rather mysterious, particularly now that most of the grand narratives on the subject have been dismissed or exploded in favour of a recognition of extreme diversity. I will try to propose a comparative analysis of this change in different areas of Europe, to try to find some common strands and understand the different purposes unfreedom served in different regions; what it allowed lords to do that they could not otherwise have done on the basis of simple socio-economic oppression; and how to situate these different processes within an overall model of social and legal change.”
The seminar takes place in the Dreyfus Room, 28 Russell Square, and will be followed by drinks and dinner at a local pub/restaurant, so please let Guy (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you’re planning on joining us afterwards.