Open Access

Ending Slavery

Hierarchy, Dependency and Gender in Central Mauritania

Urs Peter Ruf

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Urs Peter Ruf, Ending Slavery (2015), transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, ISBN: 9783839400494

Getrackt seit 05/2018


Beschreibung / Abstract

»Ending Slavery« offers insights into the »how« of practices of slavery that persist in parts of Mauritania up to the present day. It brings to the light the gendered structures of Moorish slavery, and examines their impact on strategies and tactics designed to bring this institution to an end. Underlying this study is empirical data gathered during two periods of field research in rural central Mauritania. The analysis of life histories of slaves and freed slaves, but also of tributaries and free Moors plays a key role in the book.


Urs Peter Ruf is at present working on questions of the socio-cultural identity of Moorish ex-slaves in the iron-ore industries of Mauritania and in rural Mali.


Besprochen in:

afrika spektrum, 2 (2000), Axel Harnet-Sievers
Journal of African History, 1 (2001), Martin Klein
The Maghreb Review, 25/3-4 (2000), John Wright
Orient, 42/1 (2001), Ursel Clausen


Open Access Angabe

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)


  • Cover Ending Slavery
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Note on Transliteration
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Approaching Slavery in Bīẓān Society
  • Theorising Slavery
  • Slavery and Social Hierarchy in Bīẓān Society
  • A Methodology of Rural Slave System Studies
  • Chapter 2. Changing Configurations of Hierarchy and Dependency
  • Methodological Considerations
  • Contrasting Life Stories
  • Exploring the Change
  • Chapter 3. Slave Women
  • Tent Slaves and Female Slave Affection
  • Slave-Master Milk Kinship
  • Concubinage
  • Status and Split Origin
  • Chapter 4. The Demography of Western Saharan Slavery
  • Africa and the Slave Trades
  • Numbering Sūdān
  • Sex, Gender and Servile Demography
  • Chapter 5. Gender and Status in the Topography of Work
  • Gendered Labour
  • Domains of Work
  • Gender, Status and the Locus of Work
  • Chapter 6. The Historical Dynamics of Bīẓān Economy
  • Gum and Guinée
  • The Colonial Challenge to Pastoral Economy
  • Wage Labour and Migration
  • Chapter 7. Small Dams, Large Dams: Bīẓān Land Tenure and Social Stratification
  • Land Tenure: the Legal Framework
  • Case Studies
  • Land Tenure, Gender and Relations of Domination
  • Chapter 8. The Difference in Identity
  • The Politics of Ḥarāntīn Identity
  • Marking Difference, Marking Identity
  • Being a Part or Being Apart?
  • Chapter 9. Where Do They Go To?
  • Notes
  • Transliteration of Arabic Characters
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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