Slaves in Medieval Yemen. An Analysis of Historical Sources

Magdalena’s doctoral research explores the complex phenomenon of slavery in medieval Yemen through the analysis of historical sources from the 12th to the early 15th century. Using the theoretical and methodological tools of historical anthropology, she has collected numerous mentions of slaves scattered throughout a diverse range of medieval Arabic sources from Yemen in order to reconstruct the lived realities of slaves at the time. Of central interest to this work are the different social positions and roles occupied by slaves during that time, as well as the impacts of gender, ethnic background, and religious denomination on them. Ethnographic works from the 20th and 21st centuries are also drawn on to assess the legacy of historical slavery in contemporary Yemen.