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Social Science Slavery

Contemporary Slavery

Popular Rhetoric and Political Practice

edited by Annie Bunting & Joel Quirk

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2017
Slavery, Emigration & Immigration, Human Rights
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2017
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2017
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2018
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Contemporary slavery has emerged as a source of fascination and a spur to political mobilization. This volume brings together experts to carefully explore how the language of slavery has been invoked to support a series of government interventions, activist projects, legal instruments, and rhetorical and visual performances. However well-intentioned these interventions might be, they remain subject to a host of limitations and complications. Recent efforts to combat slavery are too often sensationalist, self-serving, and superficial and end up failing the test of speaking truth to power. Bringing about lasting change will require direct challenges to dominant political and economic interests.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Annie Bunting is an associate professor in the law and society program at York University in Toronto, teaching in the areas of legal pluralism and human rights. She has published articles in journals including Social and Legal Studies, Journal of Law and Society, Canadian Journal of Human Rights and chapters in various book collections. She is currently directing an international research collaboration on forced marriage in conflict situations with historians of slavery and women’s human rights scholars. She is the coeditor (with B. Lawrance and R. Roberts) of Marriage by Force? Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa (Ohio University Press, 2016).


Joel Quirk is a professor of political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Joel is the author or editor of seven books, including The Anti-Slavery Project (2011) and Mobility Makes States (2015). He is a current member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, where he serves as Rapporteur, and is also an editor for openDemocracy’s “Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.”


Contributors: Jean Allain, Jonathan Blagbrough, Roy Brooks, Annie Bunting, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Andrew Crane, Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Fuyuki Kurasawa, Benjamin Lawrance, Joel Quirk, and Darshan Vigneswaran

Editorial Reviews

Contemporary Slavery is a must-read for every academic, practitioner, and activist working in the field of slavery and human trafficking… Each of the chapters provides a new perspective, and the strongest impact is gained by just this: the holistic, diverse representation of observations, analysis, and research ... this book is an invaluable compilation of thoughtful, nuanced chapters, which build a case for more careful academic engagement with the language of slavery.

Nandor Kunst & Kurttuli Lingenfelter