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category: Social Science
published: May 2017
publisher: UBC Press

Contemporary Slavery

Popular Rhetoric and Political Practice

edited by Annie Bunting & Joel Quirk

tagged: slavery, human rights, emigration & immigration

Contemporary slavery has recently emerged as a key source of popular fascination and political mobilization. This volume brings together a cast of leading 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 nonetheless remain subject to a host of limitations and complications. Recent efforts to combat contemporary slavery are too often sensationalist, self-serving, and superficial. Bringing about lasting change will ultimately require a direct challenge to dominant political and economic interests.

About the Authors

Annie Bunting

Joel Quirk

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. Her research expertise includes socio-legal studies of marriage and childhoods; feminist international law; and culture, religion, and law. 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 co-editor of Marriage by Force? Contestation over Consent and Coercion in Africa (with B. Lawrance and R. Roberts), Ohio University Press, 2016.


Joel Quirk is a professor of politics at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. His research focuses on slavery and abolition, social movements and the politics of arguments, human mobility and human rights, repairing historical wrongs, and the history and politics of sub-Saharan 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 Blagborough, Roy Brooks, Annie Bunting, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Andrew Crane, Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Fuyuki Kurasawa, Benjamin Lawrance, Joel Quirk, and Darshan Vigneswaran

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