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

The website for the International Interdisciplinary Conference in honour of Paul E. Lovejoy: Re/framing Slavery, Contemporary Child Labor & Rights, and Abolition and Emancipation across Time and Space is now live. The conference will be held in East Legon, Accra, Ghana, from May 22-24, 2014.

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 conference 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 the Harriet Tubman Institute (which he founded) are actively partnering with 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. This 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.

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