Slavery Past, Present and Future

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Photodream Art

An Interdisciplinary Project Exploring Human Enslavement


Welcome to the Project
It is an unfortunate truth that slavery, in one form or another, is prevalent in almost all human societies. The 2014 United States State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, for example, claims that virtually every country in the world is now a source, transit, or destination point for human trafficking, which it describes as a “modern form of slavery.”

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 since 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 project will explore slavery in all its dimensions and, in particular, the ways in which we understand and attempt to respond to it.

Core themes for development
Slavery Past, Present and Future will explore and assess a number of core themes:

  • What is slavery – social, cultural, and legal definitions?
  • The experience of slavery (from the perspectives of slave, slave master, and society)
  • Social, cultural, political, and economic structures that create and sustain slavery through space and time
  • Enslavement and its effects on families and societies
  • Education and educating about slavery
  • Experiencing enslavement through literature, visual and performance arts

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.