Slavery: Past, Present and Future 2nd Global Meetingpr

Country: Czech Republic

City: Prague

Abstr. due: 04.12.2015

Dates: 02.05.16 — 04.05.16

Area Of Sciences: History and archeology;

Organizing comittee e-mail:



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 well documented. Is slavery an inevitable part of the human condition? Controversial estimates indicate that up to 35 million people worldwide are enslaved. 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 we 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,
• among immigrant farmworkers on U.S. farms,
• 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 countrieswho flock to the oil rich Gulf States for work.

Does this mean that the world may not have changed as much as we would like to believe since worldwide abolition and the recognition of universal individual and collective human rights? Like the ‘consumers’ of the past, are we dependent on the abhorrent exploitation of others?

Potential themes and sub-themes include but are not limited to:
1. Defining Slavery
a. What do we mean when we talk about “slavery”
b. Using “slavery” to obscure other endemic forms of exploitation
c. Teaching and learning about slavery

2. Slaveries of the Past
a. Classical (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, etc.) slavery
b. Conquests and colonizations – Aboriginal Australians, indigenous peoples of the New World, dividing and colonizing Africa
c. Trans-Atlantic Slavery and the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
d. Slaveries in traditional societies
e. WWII and post-WWII forced labor camps

3. Trafficking and other Forms of Contemporary Exploitation
a. Definitions
b. Types of human trafficking
c. The Focus on sex trafficking: reasons, purpose, effects
d. Can nation states enslave?
e. Is human trafficking “slavery”
f. Contemporary Usage/Depictions of slavery
g. Civil society anti-trafficking activism: i. Methodologies ii. effectiveness

4. Systems and Structures of Enslavement and Subordination
a. Role of slavery in national and global economies
b. Economic, political, legal structures – their role in enslavement and exploitation

5. Voices of the Enslaved
a. Slave narratives of the past and present
b. Descendants’ interpretation of their enslaved and slave-holding ancestors
6. Legacies of slavery
a. Identifying and mapping contemporary legacies – economic, social, cultural, psychological, racial subordination
b. Assessment of slavery’s impact – economic, political, other
c. Commemorations and lack thereof

7. Anti-slavery Movements
a. Reparations
b. Economic compensation
c. Restorative justice
d. Teaching and learning about slavery
e. Connecting to the global racial hierarchy

Submissions to this conference are sought from people from all genders and walks of life, including academics (from multiple disciplines, such as art, anthropology, history, ethnic studies, politics, economics) and non-academics; social workers, activists, and health care professionals; government representatives and policy makers; former slaves and indentured labourers; members of at-risk populations such as migrant and guest workers, non—regularized immigrants, and refugees. Panels will be composed of participants from multiple disciplines.

Conference Web-Site: