Book Review: The Anti-Slavery Project: From Slave Trade to Human Trafficking

Click to access br2012_9-final.pdf

A. Fukushima/ Societies Without Borders 9:1 (2014) 132-134

Book Review

The Anti-Slavery Project: From Slave Trade to Human Trafficking By Joel Quirk

Annie Isabel Fukushima

Rutgers University

University of Pennsylvania Press

Joel Quirk’s The Anti-slavery Project examines the evolving political project of the anti-slavery movement. Quirk is wary of the separation between historical and contemporary slavery, therefore, grapples with developing an understanding of definitions concerning slavery, legal measures that impact the interpretation and practice of slavery, the limitations and strengths of the legal abolition movement, and terms that create connections between “classical slavery” and contemporary slavery. As such, Quirk disrupts the division between historical and contemporary slavery by offering a new concept: the “Anti-Slavery Project.” The Anti-Slavery Project is “an ongoing task, or undertaking which has gone through a number of phases, and to a distinct form of historical project” that is regularly compared to transatlantic slavery (5). Quirk investigates the discursive development of the anti-slavery movement in Britain, which has had international implications in the twenty-first century. An overarching argument in The Anti-Slavery Project is that little has improved with the implementation of legal abolition, as evidenced through the analysis of historical events including the legal abolition of slavery, history of the British anti-slavery movement and colonialism, and a discursive analysis of discrimination and debt. The existence of slavery and slave-like practices and the growth of human bondage are endemic to the failures of legal abolition. Quirk contends that the failure of legal abolition is due to ideologies that perpetuate difference and social discrimination. The method in The Anti- Slavery Project delineates that an interdisciplinary approach is central to conceptualizing slavery through history, the law, and politics. To read the rest of the review click.

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