October 30, 2023

Slavery in East Asia

By Don J. Wyatt’75
Cambridge University Press, 2023

Book cover of Slavery in East Asia by Don J. Wyatt'75. In his new book, Don Wyatt, distinguished professor of history at Middlebury College and Beloit trustee, explores slavery in premodern China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Slavery in medieval East Asia shared with the West the commonplace assumption that nearly all humans were potential chattel, and could be owned, sold, or inherited.

Yet, slavery in medieval East Asia was also endowed with its own distinctive traits and traditions. Those differences contribute to a more nuanced understanding of slavery as the ubiquitous and openly practiced institution it once was, and the now-illicit and surreptitious practice it remains.

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