FWF Projekt "ESCAPE"

European Slaves: Christians in African Pirate Encounters (ESCAPE):
Barbary Coast Captivity Narratives (1550–1780)

The proposed research project focuses on early modern—that is, mostly seventeenth- and eighteenth-century—survivor narratives by white Europeans who were enslaved by Islamic pirates on North Africa’s Barbary Coast. Centerpieces of the research effort are an anthology of shorter unedited German slave narratives and the first modern text edition and English translation of Johan Frisch’s Schauplatz Barbarischer Sclaverey (1666 and 1694), one of the most important and comprehensive specimens of this text type in German. Parallel to editing Frisch’s text, which draws on a plethora of accounts in French, English, and other languages, the project will provide a typological analysis of these histories, focusing on English and German texts first, and gradually exploring narratives in other languages as well. Unlike previous research, mostly carried out by historians on the phenomenon of white slavery as such, this project primarily focuses on survivor narratives from a literary perspective. These white slave histories will be treated as an independent narrative text type or genre, which shares features of the modern novel, but predates it by more than a century.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mag. Mario Klarer, M.A.
Institut für Amerikastudien
Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Österreich

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