Fugitive women: Slavery and social change in early modern Southeast Asia
Female slaves in VOC-controlled Southeast Asia did not fare well under a legal code which erected a firm partition between free and slave status. This codification imposed a rigid dichotomy for what had been fluid, abstract conceptions of social hierarchy, in effect silting up the flow of underclass mobility. At the same time, conventional relationships between master and slave shifted in the context of a changing economic climate. This article closely narrates the lives of several eighteenth-century female slaves who, left with increasingly fewer options in this new order, resorted to running away.