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How much is a man worth. Slavery and market of individual identities in early modern Naples and Valencia


This research aims to study the identity formation processes of slaves and captives in the Mediterranean between 16th and 17th centuries. It will do so by analysing the slaves markets of Naples and Valencia, two of the most important trading cities of the Spanish Empire. The project will combine different types of unexplored archival sources including the trials on slaves to be found within the Archivo del Reino of Valencia and a unique source represented by the book nr. 42 coming from Secretaría de Estado of the Archivo General de Simancas. The latter is as of now the most detailed source available on Mediterranean slavery, outlining the profiles of 657 slaves and captives aboard 26 privately-operated Neapolitan galleys in 1585. These sources will make it possible to focus in depth on the biography of slaves and the process of calculating their price.
Through this analysis, my project aims to significantly contribute to two historiographical mainstreams: Mediterranean slavery and formation of personal identities in ancient regime. The underlying idea is that at the core of both these phenomena was an estimation process of 'how much is a man (and woman) worth' including social, psychological and economic aspects.
To this end, I propose to read together the two topics (formation of personal identities and slavery) by doing a microanalytical study of men forced to labour. The main references for this analysis will be the micro-sociology of prices
elaborated by Bourdieu and Boltanski and recent studies on social estimation processes in history, focusing on biographies as well as using case-studies oriented methodology.
The fellowship will include a significant secondment to EHESS in Paris, and will result in the third monograph of the researcher on negotiated identities in modern Mediterranean.

Régime de financement

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 158 121,60
Avenida Blasco Ibanez 13
46010 Valencia

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Este Comunitat Valenciana Valencia/València
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Autres sources de financement
€ 0,00