Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy (Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past)

3.67 avg rating
( 6 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780801438486: Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy (Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past)

"The language of slavery is the last but steep price any society must pay for having tolerated the institution and profited from it. . . . The hypocrisies, the racism, the sexism, the brutality bound up with the daily practice of slavery live on in language, where they continue to punish the descendants of both owners and slaves indiscriminately. The habits of expression that excused slavery endure as unfinished business, unexpiated sin, in all those societies that used words to exploit the enslavement of others. Thus slavery lives on long after the last slave has died."― from Speaking of Slavery

In this highly original work, Steven A. Epstein shows that the ways Italians employ words and think about race and labor are profoundly affected by the language used in medieval Italy to sustain a system of slavery. The author's findings about the surprising persistence of the "language of slavery" demonstrate the difficulty of escaping the legacy of a shameful past. For Epstein, language is crucial to understanding slavery, for it preserves the hidden conditions of that institution.

He begins his book by discussing the words used to conduct and describe slavery in Italy, from pertinent definitions given in early dictionaries, to the naming of slaves by their masters, to the ways in which bondage has been depicted by Italian writers from Dante to Primo Levi and Antonio Gramsci. Epstein then probes Italian legal history, tracing the evolution of contracts for buying, selling, renting, and freeing people. Next he considers the behaviors of slaves and slave owners as a means of exploring how concepts of liberty and morality changed over time. He concludes by analyzing the language of the market, where medieval Italians used words to fix the prices of people they bought and sold.

The first history of slavery in Italy ever published, Epstein's work has important implications for other societies, particularly America's. "For too long," Epstein notes, "Americans have studied their own slavery as it if were the only one ever to have existed, as if it were the archetype of all others." His book allows citizens of the United States and other former slave-holding nations a richer understanding of their past and present.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Steven A. Epstein is Ahmanson-Murphy Distinguished Professor of Medieval History at the University of Kansas. He is the author of several books, including The Talents of Jacopo de Varagine: A Genoese Mind in Medieval Europe and Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy, both from Cornell, and The Medieval Discovery of Nature.

Review:

"Scholars with specialisms outside Italy will find a great deal of interest in this book and many intriguing parallels with systems of slavery elsewhere. . . . Epstein's persuasive notion of the corrupting and normalizing language of medieval slavery will effect a permanent change in the way in which Italian slavery will be approached in the future. His pioneering, well written and constructed study is very timely, and it is to be hope that it will provide a lead for other much needed investigations of the culture of Italian slavery, both historical and interdisciplinary."―Kate Lowe, Slavery and Abolition



"Steven Epstein's study of slavery in medieval Italy focuses on language, the ways people talked or wrote about slaves in a variety of contexts and the ways slaves talked about themselves. He makes it clear that slavery's significance in Italian history is more cultural than economic; although he does discuss the kinds of work that slaves did, he is more concerned with the intellectual and social implications of markets than with quantifying the contributions of slaves to production. . . . A final contribution of Epstein's work is to set slavery in the context of servanthood and poverty. Servants and poor laborers were not legally property, but their lives might be in effect quite similar to those of slaves, and the kind of language used about them could be similar as well."―Ruth Mazo Karras, Speculum



"Speaking of Slavery argues that Italian words specifically, and Italy's spoken culture generally, supported the owning and exploiting of humans, thus mainstreaming ideas about cultural superiority and inferiority that are still evident in Italian nomenclature today. . . . Epstein's study is successful on two fronts. First, he successfully challenges the alienation of discussions of New World slavery to the American context; moreover, he demonstrates that the attitudes of explorers like Christopher Columbus cannot be separated from preexisting slave traditions and language traditions. While the international slave market lost its stronghold long ago, the language established to support it still shapes ideas about race. In the end, the relationship between early Italian slavery and Italian ideas about ethnicity is still evident in the language used to talk about color and race, specifically the language reserved for immigrant laborers and ethnic minorities living in Italy today."―Audrey Kerr, Sixteenth Century Journal



"In his important book, Steven Epstein demonstrates the ways in which Italian slavery endures as a rhetorical topos and as an often distorted historical memory. Originally conceived and thoroughly researched, Speaking of Slavery is a significant accomplishment."―Paul Freedman, Yale University



"This is book is that rare event, a truly original work on an important and much discussed subject. Epstein's work will profoundly change the ways in which we think about slavery in the context of European culture."―James Given, University of California, Irvine



"Narratives of European modernity often assume too sharp a break with the pre-modern past. In this fine and nuanced study of the (largely) non-racial slavery of medieval Italy, Steven Epstein not only retrieves for historical memory an insufficiently known episode of the Old World's past. He also shows how the normalization through language of human servitude would provide a discursive foundation for the racial slavery of the New World, and leave a poisoned linguistic legacy for a modernity characterized simultaneously by freedom and equality for some and bondage and inequality for others."―Charles Mills, author of The Racial Contract

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Syracus University Press
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Syracus University Press. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0801438489

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 43.61
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Steven A. Epstein
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books-FYI, Inc.
(Cadiz, KY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 23MA360106JV

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 45.34
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press, United States (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The language of slavery is the last but steep price any society must pay for having tolerated the institution and profited from it. . . . The hypocrisies, the racism, the sexism, the brutality bound up with the daily practice of slavery live on in language, where they continue to punish the descendants of both owners and slaves indiscriminately. The habits of expression that excused slavery endure as unfinished business, unexpiated sin, in all those societies that used words to exploit the enslavement of others. Thus slavery lives on long after the last slave has died. -- from Speaking of Slavery In this highly original work, Steven A. Epstein shows that the ways Italians employ words and think about race and labor are profoundly affected by the language used in medieval Italy to sustain a system of slavery. The author s findings about the surprising persistence of the language of slavery demonstrate the difficulty of escaping the legacy of a shameful past. For Epstein, language is crucial to understanding slavery, for it preserves the hidden conditions of that institution. He begins his book by discussing the words used to conduct and describe slavery in Italy, from pertinent definitions given in early dictionaries, to the naming of slaves by their masters, to the ways in which bondage has been depicted by Italian writers from Dante to Primo Levi and Antonio Gramsci. Epstein then probes Italian legal history, tracing the evolution of contracts for buying, selling, renting, and freeing people. Next he considers the behaviors of slaves and slave owners as a means of exploring how concepts of liberty and morality changed over time. He concludes by analyzing the language of the market, where medieval Italians used words to fix the prices of people they bought and sold. The first history of slavery in Italy ever published, Epstein s work has important implications for other societies, particularly America s. For too long, Epstein notes, Americans have studied their own slavery as it if were the only one ever to have existed, as if it were the archetype of all others. His book allows citizens of the United States and other former slave-holding nations a richer understanding of their past and present. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780801438486

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 64.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press, United States (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The language of slavery is the last but steep price any society must pay for having tolerated the institution and profited from it. . . . The hypocrisies, the racism, the sexism, the brutality bound up with the daily practice of slavery live on in language, where they continue to punish the descendants of both owners and slaves indiscriminately. The habits of expression that excused slavery endure as unfinished business, unexpiated sin, in all those societies that used words to exploit the enslavement of others. Thus slavery lives on long after the last slave has died. -- from Speaking of Slavery In this highly original work, Steven A. Epstein shows that the ways Italians employ words and think about race and labor are profoundly affected by the language used in medieval Italy to sustain a system of slavery. The author s findings about the surprising persistence of the language of slavery demonstrate the difficulty of escaping the legacy of a shameful past. For Epstein, language is crucial to understanding slavery, for it preserves the hidden conditions of that institution. He begins his book by discussing the words used to conduct and describe slavery in Italy, from pertinent definitions given in early dictionaries, to the naming of slaves by their masters, to the ways in which bondage has been depicted by Italian writers from Dante to Primo Levi and Antonio Gramsci. Epstein then probes Italian legal history, tracing the evolution of contracts for buying, selling, renting, and freeing people. Next he considers the behaviors of slaves and slave owners as a means of exploring how concepts of liberty and morality changed over time. He concludes by analyzing the language of the market, where medieval Italians used words to fix the prices of people they bought and sold. The first history of slavery in Italy ever published, Epstein s work has important implications for other societies, particularly America s. For too long, Epstein notes, Americans have studied their own slavery as it if were the only one ever to have existed, as if it were the archetype of all others. His book allows citizens of the United States and other former slave-holding nations a richer understanding of their past and present. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780801438486

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 65.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, 2001. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # CW-9780801438486

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 57.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.93
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780801438486

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 60.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.20
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Epstein, Steven A.
Published by Cornell University Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 6
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 0801438489

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 71.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0801438489

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 72.57
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Steven A. Epstein
Published by Cornell University Press (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Cornell University Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. illustrated edition. 215 pages. 9.25x6.25x1.00 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0801438489

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 69.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

EPSTEIN S A
Published by CUPS (2001)
ISBN 10: 0801438489 ISBN 13: 9780801438486
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Herb Tandree Philosophy Books
(Stroud, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description CUPS, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780801438486 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0938270

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 67.58
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 10.60
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book