The courtroom has long been understood as a space mirroring the social hierarchies and power dynamics of society at large. Cultural and social historians have developed approaches to the courtroom that recognize it as a site of negotiation and struggle. Microhistorians especially have called for methodologies attuned to the multiple, entangled voices that are sometimes found in court records and the conflictual perspectives they represent. The courtroom has figured both as a portal through which subaltern cultures could be studied and as a room full of meaning in and of itself. Building on these historiographical traditions, this workshop focuses on how processes of labour coercion and social asymmetries have been entangled with judicial practices throughout history. To facilitate a granular exploration of the judicial archives, the organizers invite contributions on documents produced in courtrooms, holding cells, interrogation chambers, and similar judicial and carceral settings. What do they tell us of labour coercion as a practice? In what ways were the courtroom and its paper trail constitutive or generative of labour coercion? What does that mean for the way historians encounter and engage with those archival traces? Finally, we ask contributors to consider the question ‘how do we narrate coercion?’ Hence, we want to extend our exploration towards a reflection on the temporal entanglements of labour coercion as we reckon that the past, the present, and the future of labour coercion and its narrations are not discrete and cut off from one another.

We imagine this workshop as part of a more general effort to explore the many ways in which labour coercion and social asymmetries are practiced, written about, and archived. Our focus for this occasion is on ‘coercive archives’ of judicial proceedings created in various courts ranging from arbitration to inquisition. We seek contributions focused on specific places and the documents they yielded and welcome contributions from all historical periods and regions.

The workshop will be part of a forthcoming series of events dealing with archives of coercion hosted by the COST-Action Worlds of Related Coercions in Work (WORCK). WORCK aims to explore practices and processes that produce and often continue to produce social asymmetry. It argues for the need for a new social history grounded in the empirical study of coercion. As part of this collective inquiry, WORCK is creating an archive (data.worck.eu) to allow for broader engagement with historical sources stemming from coercive processes, past and present. The workshop also invites all contributors to share data examples on this platform.

This workshop is organized by the COST-Action Worlds of Related Coercions in Work (WORCK) and is hosted by the Core Program (Department of Core Academics) at Kadir Has University. It will take place on 10-11 September 2022 at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

If you are interested in contributing, please send an abstract of 250 words to muge.ozbek@khas.edu.tr by 1 February 2022. We aim to respond to applicants by 3 March 2022. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Coordinators: Johan Heinsen heinsen@dps.aau.dk, Vilhelm Vilhelmsson vilhelmv@hi.is, Müge Özbek muge.ozbek@khas.edu.tr

Find the Call for Papers as a PDF-File here.