Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Throughout history, slavery (the purchase and sale of human beings as chattel), enslavement (through conquest, and exploitation of indebtedness, among other vulnerabilities), and similar extreme forms of exploitation and control have been an intrinsic part of human societies.
Is slavery an inevitable part of the human condition?
Controversial estimates indicate that up to 35 million people worldwide are enslaved today. This modern re-emergence of slavery, following legal abolition over two hundred years ago, is said to be linked to the deepening interconnectedness of countries in the global economy, overpopulation, and the economic and other vulnerabilities of the individual victims and communities.
This conference will explore slavery in all its dimensions and, in particular, the ways in which individual humans and societies understand and attempt to respond to it.
The varieties of contemporary forms of exploitation appear to be endless. Consider, for example, enslavement or mere “exploitation” among:
fishermen in Thailand’s booming shrimping industry,
children on Ghana’s cocoa plantations,
immigrant farmworkers on U.S. farms,
truck drivers in the port of Los Angeles.
prostituted women and girls on the streets and in the brothels of Las Vegas,
the dancing boys (bacha bazi) of Afghanistan,
the sex workers of The Netherlands’ Red Light Districts and in Italian cities,
Eritrean and other sub-Saharan Africans fleeing to Israel and trafficked and exploited in the Sinai,
Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, and
migrant workers from Southeast Asia and other countries who flock to the oil rich Gulf States for work.
Does the persistence and mutations of different forms of extreme human-of-human exploitation mean that the world may not have changed as much as contemporary societies would like to believe since worldwide abolition and the recognition of universal individual and collective human rights? Like the ‘consumers’ of past eras, such as early industrialization, are we dependent on the abhorrent exploitation of others?
Potential themes and sub-themes of the conference include but are not limited to:
Defining Slavery: What do we mean when we talk about “slavery”
Using “slavery” to obscure other endemic forms of exploitation
Teaching and learning about historic slavery and contemporary forms of exploitation
Slaveries of the Past
Classical (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, etc.) slavery
Conquests and colonizations – Aboriginal Australians, indigenous peoples of the New World, dividing and colonizing Africa and Asia
Slaveries in Europe before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Industrialization, such as villeinage and serfdom
Trans-Atlantic Slavery and the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Systems of slavery in tribal and traditional societies
WWII and post-WWII forced labor camps
Human Trafficking and other Forms of Contemporary Exploitation
Types of human trafficking
The focus on sex trafficking: reasons, purpose, effects
Can nation states enslave?
Is human trafficking “slavery”
Contemporary usage and depictions of slavery
Civil society anti-trafficking activism:
Anti-trafficking policies and legislation
Assessing contemporary anti-trafficking and/or anti-“slavery” Initiatives
Systems and Structures of Enslavement and Subordination (historic and contemporary)
Role of slavery in national and global economies
Economic, political, legal structures – their role in enslavement and exploitation
Slavery’s impact on culture
Cultural impacts of historic slavery
Voices of the Enslaved
Slave narratives of the past and present
Descendants’ interpretation of their enslaved and slave-holding ancestors
Legacies of slavery
Identifying and mapping contemporary legacies – economic, social, cultural, psychological
Assessment of slavery’s impact – economic, political, other
Commemorations of enslavers and/or the enslaved
Teaching and learning about slavery
Relationship to the global racial hierarchy
Abolitionism and law: effects and (in)effectiveness
The role of media and social media
Submissions to this conference are sought from people from all genders and walks of life, including academics (from multiple disciplines, such as art, anthropology, sociology, history, ethnic studies, politics, social work, economics) and non-academics; social workers, activists, and health care professionals; government representatives and policy makers; former slaves and indentured laborers; members of at-risk populations such as migrant and guest workers, non—regularized immigrants, and refugees.
Karen E. Bravo (Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, IN, USA)
David Bulla (Augusta University, GA, USA)
Sheetal Shah (Webster University, Leiden, The Netherlands)
Polina Smiragina (University of Sydney, Australia)
Submitting Your Proposal
Proposals should be submitted no later than Friday, March 2, 2018 to:
Karen E. Bravo, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis: [email protected]
E-Mail Subject Line: Slavery Past Present & Future 3 Proposal Submission
File Format: Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX)
The following information must be included in the body of the email:
Affiliation as you would like it to appear in the conference program
Corresponding author email address
The following information must be in the Microsoft Word file:
Title of proposal
Body of proposal (maximum of 300 words)
Keywords (maximum of ten)
Please keep the following in mind:
All text must be in Times New Roman 12.
No footnotes or special formatting (bold, underline, or italicization) must be used.
Evaluating Your Proposal
All abstracts will be double-blind peer reviewed and you will be notified of the Organizing Committee’s decision no later than Friday, 16 March 2018. If a positive decision is made, you will be asked to promptly register online. You will be asked to submit a draft paper of no more than 3000 words by Friday, 01 June 2018.
The conference registration fee is Euro (€) 200. Please note that we are not in a position to provide funding to facilitate your participation.
A selection of papers will be published in an edited volume, to be submitted to Brill’s ‘Studies in Global Slavery’ book series.