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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Call for Applications: International Summer Academy “Free and Unfree Labour in Global History”

Deadline: June 9, 2013

24 November – 1 December 2013, Campinas, Brazil

The international research center IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History (Humboldt-Universita t zu Berlin) and the Centro de Pesquisa em Histo ria Social da Cultura (CECULT), University of Campinas (Brazil) will hold a Summer Academy exploring the historical and contemporary meanings and practices of work in relation to freedom and unfreedom in different socio-economic and cultural contexts. The Summer Academy is open for doctoral students working in the field of work/labour from historical as well as other social sciences’ perspectives and will take place on the campus of the University of Campinas, 24 November – 1 December 2013.

“Free labour” represents a central concept through which worlds of labour have been thought and interpreted for the last centuries. In many parts of the world the distinction between “free” and “unfree” became essential, especially in post-slavery societies in Africa and the Americas. The Summer Academy will focus on the ambiguities of the concept of “free labour” without simply eliminating the distinction between “free” and “unfree” or referring to its “blurred character.”

The need for an intensive engagement with these issues arises from a fundamental redefinition of work that has emerged along with rapid globalisation. The Summer Academy shall focus methodologically on historical perspectives that investigate global interconnections and entanglements and/or employ methodologies of comparison. The critical reflection of general comparative notions such as “work and labour,” “freedom”, “slavery,” and “capitalism” should be part of the individual projects presented at the Summer Academy.

The following aspects, among others, should be central to the projects and discussions:

- Languages of free and unfree labour
- Slave emancipation
- Law and labour (contract)
- Capitalism and unfree labour
- Forced labour
- Child labour/children’s work
- International Organizations
- Contemporary forms of unfree labour
- Transnational labor migrations
- Gender differences in labor experience

Moreover, the Summer Academy will also provide the venue for an in-depth discussion of methodological issues and the question of sources. The Summer Academy will be led by renowned historians and social scientists from around the world.

The language of the Summer Academy will be English. Within its framework, selected participants will present their research (40 minutes) and comment on a project of a peer (20 minutes). Moreover it is obligatory that all participants hand in an essay on specific topics related to the Summer Academy’s theme as well as answers to a set of key texts prior to the event.


To participate in the Summer Academy research scholars at the doctoral level need to apply with a brief outline of their current project (max. 3 pages) and a two pages essay on how their work relates to the themes of the Summer Academy as well as how they can contribute to it. These should be submitted electronically along with their CV and the names/ email addresses of two referees. Proposed projects should assume a historical perspective and will be particularly pertinent if they take account of connections beyond the nation state and attempt to reflect upon the possibilities of connecting regional and systematic approaches. This does not exclude carefully contextualized case studies. Travel and accommodation costs of the selected participants will be covered by the organisers of the Summer Academy.

We welcome relevant applications from all parts of the globe. Candidates from Latin America are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please use the electronic form on our website: http://rework.hu-berlin.de; we can ONLY accept electronically submitted applications!

The deadline for applications is June 9, 2013.

Please send your application to:

Professor Andreas Eckert IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History Humboldt University Berlin rework-application@asa.hu-berlin.de

Call for Applications : International Summer Academy

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