The Semiotics of Serfdom: How Serfdom was perceived in the Swedish Conglomerate State, 1561–1806

Prof. Dr. Marten Seppel, Foto: Magnus Schult
Prof. Dr. Marten Seppel, Foto: Magnus Schult

It analyzes the question of how the Swedish central government’s position on serfdom changed between 1561 and 1806, i.e. from gaining the first overseas province (Estland) until the abolition of serfdom in Vorpommern. It will be argued that serfdom was first of all a (culturally) constructed phenomenon and ideological tool, even if the term can be found in the law codes and administrative documents. These were stereotypes, clichés, labels, images that shaped the discourse on serfdom. It also appears that a critical discussion of serfdom and its apology started much earlier than the mid-eighteenth century processes of Bauernschutz and Bauernbefreiung.

Prof. Dr. Marten Seppel is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Tartu, Estonia and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Greifswald. He did his M.Phil. at the University of Cambridge. In 2010, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the UCL and in 2013–14 at the University of Uppsala. His most recent work includes an edited volume (with Keith Tribe) „Cameralism in Practice. State Administration and Economy in Early Modern Europe“ (Boydell 2017).

Das Graduiertenkolleg Baltic Borderlands lädt Interessierte herzlich ein zum Vortrag von Professor Marten Seppel (Tartu).

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