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Hannah Barker

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Assistant Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Faculty Affiliate
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Biography: 

Hannah Barker is an assistant professor of history at Arizona State University. Her research centers on connections between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the late medieval period, especially the trade in slaves which flourished during the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries. Her first book, dealing with the processes of shipping, marketing, and purchasing slaves and the Genoese, Mamluk, and Venetian merchants who conducted this trade, is That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500. It was awarded the Paul E. Lovejoy Prize by the Journal of Global Slavery in 2020. She is currently interested in early transmission of the Black Death from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean; life insurance for enslaved pregnant women in Genoa; how medieval Genoese notaries described slaves in legal acts; comparisons between northern and southern barbarians in Mamluk texts; and local slaving patterns in the Golden Horde and Caucasus regions.

Education: 
  • Ph.D. History, Columbia University 2014
  • M.A. History, Columbia University 2009
  • B.A. History and Physics, University of Chicago 2005
Images
Book cover of That Most Precious Merchandise

Research Interests: 

Slavery and the slave trade; comparative history of slavery

Medieval ideas of race and ethnicity

Travel and cross-cultural encounters in the medieval Mediterranean

New approaches to the study of the second plague pandemic (the Black Death)

Legal, medical, social, and economic history

History of Italy; Genoa; Venice

History of Egypt and Syria; Mamluks

History of the Black Sea

Publications: 

Books

  • That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “The Risk of Birth: Life Insurance for Enslaved Pregnant Women in Fifteenth-Century Genoa.” Journal of Global Slavery 6, no. 2 (2021): 1-31.
  • "Laying the Corpses to Rest: Grain Embargoes and the Early Transmission of the Black Death in the Black Sea, 1346-1347," Speculum 96, no. 1 (2021): 97-126.
  • "Christianities in Conflict: The Black Sea as a Genoese Slaving Zone in the Later Middle Ages," in Slaving Zones: Cultural Identities, Ideologies, and Institutions in the Evolution of Global Slavery, ed. Jeff Fynn-Paul and Damian Alan Pargas (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 50-69.
  • "Purchasing a Slave in Fourteenth-Century Cairo: Ibn al-Akfānī’s Book of Observation and Inspection in the Examination of Slaves," Mamluk Studies Review 19 (2016): 1-24.
  • "Reconnecting with the Homeland: Black Sea Slaves in Mamluk Biographical Dictionaries," Medieval Prosopography 30 (2015): 87-104.
  • "Egypt and the Black Sea Slave Trade During the Thirteenth Century," Bulletin of the American Research Center in Egypt 199 (2011): 33-35.
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 493Honors Thesis
HST 599Thesis
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 492Honors Directed Study
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 100Global History to 1500
HST 350Later Middle Ages
HST 494Special Topics
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 349Early Middle Ages
HST 494Special Topics
HST 495Methods of Historical Inquiry
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 100Global History to 1500
HST 350Later Middle Ages
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 349Early Middle Ages
Honors / Awards: 

2020-2021 ACLS Fellowship

2020-2021 Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Fellowship

2020-2021 Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society

2016 Ezio Cappadocia Prize, Society for Italian Historical Studies

2013-2014 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Professional Associations: 

American Historical Association

Medieval Academy of America

Middle East Studies Association

Society for Italian Historical Studies

Middle East Medievalists