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The Antislavery Discourse between Early Modern Criticism and Abolitionism

The project examines the antislavery discourse in the period spanning the end of the ancien régime and the beginning of the modern period and focuses on the Spanish-speaking world. Although Spanish-language authors voiced criticism of slavery as early as the sixteenth century, abolitionism as a political movement made its present felt very late on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain was among the last colonial powers to abolish slavery in its overseas possessions. Proceeding from this paradox, the project has a double objective: firstly, it examines the question of continuity and change within the Spanish antislavery discourse, focusing on how the older religiously based tradition of opposition to slavery was perceived and adapted by the 19th-century antislavery movement, which was strongly secular in nature in the Spanish-speaking world. Secondly, the project analyses relationships of transfer between Anglo-American abolitionism and the Spanish and Spanish-American antislavery movements.