Milan Hejtmanek - Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Hereditary slavery, both private and public, was central to the economy of Chosôn Korea prior to the nineteenth century. The most common and effective technique of resistance by members of the slave, or nobi, class was flight to another locale, where one’s social status could be effectively transformed into that of a free commoner. On occasion escaped slaves were able to create their own, separate communities in isolated locales, such as coastal islands, well beyond the reach of easy recapture. This talk will examine the dynamics of slave flight and recapture from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, drawing on contemporary diaries, census registers, legal case books, household guides, and central government records.