Slavery and Globalization in Arabia

Thursday, March 30, 2017  @ 6:30pm

Photo William Farrington


How the new taste for food (dates) and fashion (pearls) in the West led to the enslavement of East Africans in the Middle East. Matthew S. Hopper’s Slaves of One master: Globalization and Slavery in Arabia in the Age of Empire—a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize— demonstrates how the growing demand (including from the United States) for Persian Gulf products  led to the enslavement of Africans in eastern Arabia. His masterful book links the personal stories of Africans to the  global commodity chains their labor enabled.

Photo William Farrington

Hopper, Professor of History at Cal Poly, was in conversation with Eve M. Troutt Powell, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

This program is presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.




Watch the video here.

19225Matthew S. Hopper is Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.His research interests include world history and the history of East Africa, eastern Arabia and the Gulf in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Specifically, his research focuses on the history of the African diaspora in the Middle East and the Western Indian Ocean and the comparative history of slavery and abolition. Dr. Hopper is working on a book project about Liberated Africans in the Indian Ocean World.



eve%20head%20shot%20smiling_0Eve M. Troutt Powell, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania is a historian of the modern Middle East and the history of slavery in the Nile Valley and the Ottoman Empire. Her most recent book is Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan and the Late Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012). She is the author of A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain and the Mastery of the Sudan (University of California, 2003) and the co-editor, with John Hunwick, of The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam (Princeton Series on the Middle East, Markus Wiener Press, 2002).


For more:

Clarence-Smith, William Gervase, ed. The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century. London: Frank Cass, 1989.

Erdem, Y. Hakan. Slavery in the Ottoman Empire and Its Demise, 1800-1909. New York: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1996.

Powell, Eve M. Troutt.  Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Empire.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.

Toledano, Ehud.  As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Walz, Terence and Kenneth M. Cuno, Eds. Race and Slavery in the Middle East: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Mediterranean.  Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2010.

Zilfi, Madeline C. Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire: The Design of Difference.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Omani Music Masks An Unpleasant Past

Click here to view the exhibition “The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World”


Aden, Yemen

Muscat, Oman



Picking dates in Muscat, Oman