CFP: Re/framing Slavery, Contemporary Child Labor & Rights, and Abolition and Emancipation across Time and Space: A Conference in Honor of Professor Paul E. Lovejoy


TOPIC: Re/framing Slavery, Contemporary Child Labor & Rights, and Abolition and Emancipation across Time and Space: A Conference in Honor of Professor Paul E. Lovejoy

DATE: May 22-May 24, 2014

VENUE: Jaria Hotel, No. 1 Levender Street, East Legon-Accra, Ghana

During the past half-century or so, the study of slavery and debt-bondage, abolition and emancipation, and very recently child labor in the contemporary era, all related to the political economies of states and societies, has engendered a great diversity of fields that are marked by increasingly refined questions and perspectives. In this regard, one recent focus has been on contemporaneous abuse of the body and labor of the child, the woman, and the poor across the globe, both in industrialized and non-industrialized countries. This call for papers in honor of Professor Paul E. Lovejoy of York University, Toronto, Canada, will re/frame some of the issues that inform topics in the constituencies of unfree labor across time and space.

A prolific scholar, Lovejoy has been an uninterrupted incandescent light in the field of slavery, debt-bondage, and abolition in Africa. Another plank of his work is the ways that slavery configured the African Diaspora and the broader Atlantic basin. Problematizing child labor in Africa and the African Diaspora in historic and contemporary times, Lovejoy is among scholars who continue to chart new pathways by asking ever more piquant questions in the field that relate research to life and wellbeing. Some of his perspectives on child labor have found a niche in recent works by other scholars who show that postslavery labor, in so many ways defined by the ongoing epoch of unidirectional globalization and its economic tentacles, has paradoxically increased systemic inequalities and actually expanded the charted frontiers of pre-abolition forms of child labor. With child labor, human and sex trafficking, and modern slavery documented to be rife worldwide, the United Nations, governments, NGOs, etc. are making great efforts applying research, teaching, information dissemination, policing, and so on to end them. It is well to note that Lovejoy and his Harriet Tubman Institute are actively partnering organizations such as Alliance and UNESCO to cast light on and curb unfree labor worldwide

We invite you to come to this international interdisciplinary conference, contribute a paper, and engage in discussions with diverse scholars in honor of Professor Lovejoy’s prodigious contributions to research, teaching, and activism in the field. The proposed conference, among others, seeks to refurbish and rethink staple conclusions; provide syntheses of emergent historiographies; offer seamless refinements to extant theories and paradigms; furnish new empirical and theoretical perspectives on structures/features and agencies of slavery and debt-bondage, abolition and emancipation; and examine the political economy of contemporary child labor and modern slavery as well as proffering recommendations to curb them. Plenary speakers will include eminent scholars and peers of Professor Lovejoy.

Papers based on all inter/disciplinary approaches are welcome, including archeological, cultural, historical, anthropological, sociological, political-economy, and World history perspectives.

POSSIBLE topics include, but are not limited to the following:

Emerging perspectives on slavery and abolition in Africa

Assessments of the works of Paul E. Lovejoy

Paul Lovejoy and his generation of historians of slavery and abolition

Lovejoy’s training of African historians of Africa and their works

Critique of theoretical frameworks on slavery, abolition, debt-bondage, and child labor

Rethinking the osmotic currents of abolition in the Atlantic Basin

Slavery and the making of the African Diasporas

Slavery and abolition in Africa, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean & Southeast Asia

Slavery and abolition in “settler societies,” e.g., South Africa

Slavery and abolition in the Islamic world

Slavery and abolition in the “West” Atlantic: North America, Latin America, Caribbean

Slavery, abolition, colonial rule, and decolonization

Gender, slavery and debt-bondage/pawnship

The paradox of former slaves as slave-holders

Christian missions, slavery/debt-bondage, and abolition

Slavery and the reparations debate

Connections between slavery, debt bondage, caste systems, and child labor

Child labor in post-slavery/emancipation societies

Child labor, gender, family, and community initiatives

Child labor, migration and urbanization

Child labor, globalization, and out-sourcing

Child labor in agriculture, fishing, porterage, trade, domesticity etc.

Child labor trafficking – agencies, avenues, structures, and movements

Child labor, insurgency, violence, civil wars, and terrorism

Child labor and rural/urban economies

Child labor and children’s rights

Rural/urban lifestyles of child laborers

The UNO agencies and child labor

The emerging middle-class and child labor at the home

Child labor and forced marriage

Routes and monuments of slavery and the slave trade

Teaching slavery and the slave trade in the 21st-century classroom

Emancipation, reconstruction, apprenticeship, and social formation

Slavery, memory, and identities in Africa and African Diasporas

Oral history and the study of slavery and abolition

Indigenous agency in slavery, abolition and emancipation

Public intellectuals, the media, and discourses on slavery & reparations


Students based in Ghana – 50 Ghana cedis

Faculty/scholars based in Ghana – 150 Ghana cedis

Students based in other African countries 50 dollars

Faculty/scholars based in other African countries 150 dollars

Non-Africa-based students – 80 dollars

Non-Africa-based faculty/scholars – 200 dollars

Please, note that we will provide a conference website that address payment options, etc.

SUBMISSION DEADLINES: Abstracts of approximately 400 words should be submitted by November 25, 2013. For panel submissions, submit a 200-word panel abstract and a 400-word abstracts for each individual presentation. Acceptance of abstracts will be made known by November 31, 2013; and full papers should be submitted by March 15, 2014.

CONTACTS: Please, send an abstract of your proposed topic, institutional affiliation, and contact information to the following:

Kwabena Akurang-Parry
Department of History
Shippensburg University
Shippensburg, PA, USA 17257

Phone 717 477 1286
Fax 717 477 4062


Femi J Kolapo
History Department
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Phone 519 824 4140 Ext. 53212
Fax: 519 766 9516    

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