Department of History

Fulbright Spotlight: Sarah Christensen, PhD Student

Congratulations to Sarah Christensen who was recently awarded a Fulbright! Sarah is a 3rd-year PhD student working on a dissertation on female captivity/slavery between the North Atlantic and the Middle East in the early middle ages. In this spotlight interview she explains how the grant will impact her future research.

Sarah Christensen"This October I'll be heading to Vienna to begin a 9-month fellowship supported by Fulbright Austria. My dissertation explores emotional histories of slavery in early medieval Europe, with a focus on the movement of enslaved women. Austria was a central point of transit for the medieval trade in enslaved people moving from west to east and north to south across the continent. Enslaved women don't often appear in textual sources, so much of my time in Austria will be spent outside the archives.

I'll be visiting ruined forts along the Roman Danubian frontier, where enslaved women lived and died, and tracing the evidence for ports and toll stations that allow us to track geographies of the slave trade. In museums across Austria, I'll be able to observe rare material evidence of medieval slavery, such as iron chains and collars, and the products of enslaved women's labor, including textiles and pottery. At the University of Vienna, my home for the year, I'm excited to learn from other scholars in this field and to broaden the geographical horizons of my project to include the eastern sphere of Europe and the Mediterranean.

With Fulbright's support, I'll also be pursuing a public history project linking the stories of early medieval enslaved women with contemporary narratives of women trafficked through modern Austria, in order to highlight the deep history of an ongoing crisis."

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