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Human Bondage and Abolition
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Book description

Slavery's expansion across the globe often escapes notice because it operates as an underground criminal enterprise, rather than as a legal institution. In this volume, Elizabeth Swanson and James Brewer Stewart bring together scholars from across disciplines to address and expose the roots of modern-day slavery from a historical perspective as a means of supporting activist efforts to fight it in the present. They trace modern slavery to its many sources, examining how it is sustained and how today's abolitionists might benefit by understanding their predecessors' successes and failures. Using scholarship also intended as activism, the volume's authors analyze how the history of African American enslavement might illuminate or obscure the understanding of slavery today and show how the legacies of earlier forms of slavery have shaped human bondage and social relations in the twenty-first century.

Reviews

'This insightful book helps to destroy the myth that somehow slavery of the past was fundamentally different to slavery today, and that antislavery was peopled with heroes in the past and bureaucrats today. Expansive yet detailed, rich with discovery, this is slavery scholarship at its best.'

Kevin Bales - author of Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World

'Starting with the brilliant preface, readers of this volume have much to savor from this superbly written and researched book by top historians. As the diverse and informative essays explain, what differentiates the past from the present is the present illegality of slavery. I recommend this work to a very diverse readership.'

Louise Shelley - author of Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective

'Slavery is an ongoing stain and this collection is highly relevant in its effort to read from the past to the present. This provides a conceptual depth and a historiography also ballast for our consideration of the present. Strongly recommended.'

Jeremy Black - author of A Brief History of Slavery

'Swanson … and Stewart … have curated a multidisciplinary anthology on slavery that includes authors from varied backgrounds. … Scholars' analyses connect slavery's past legacies to the present day; slavery is not viewed merely as a historical theme but also as a continuing institution that has evolved to persist in today's world. Contemporary slavery is covered from various angles, incorporating kidnapping, trafficking, and prostitution; some authors make meaningful connections to current political strife related to Confederate monuments and public history as well as presenting commentary on legal slavery's history in the US, including 'black codes' and the 13th Amendment. … The volume is laced with primary and secondary source materials, offering interested readers many avenues for further study … a must read for those interested in slavery as more than an event of the past but very much part of today’s world. Summing Up: Recommended.'

J. T. Pekarek Source: Choice

‘Coming at the subject from different disciplines and with interests in both the past and present, the authors make a compelling case that we must understand that slavery will continue to evolve if we let down our guard or choose to rest comfortably in the illusion that it is no more.'

Michael Guasco Source: The Journal of American History

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Contents

  • Introduction
    pp 1-38

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