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Slavery, Colonialism and Contemporary Global Inequality

Research Center for Material Culture en Tropenmuseum, Tropenmuseum and KIT Royal Tropical Institute ortganize a conference on 27 June 2019.In this conference we take modern slavery as a framework for thinking through diverse forms of dehumanising and precarious labour. What are the specificities of the different forms, how do they differ and how might it benefit us to think them together? Speakers will explore the relationship between slavery and other historical forms of forced or precarious labour and modern day slavery and human trafficking.


At the end of 2018, social media erupted with videos showing practices of contemporary slavery in Libya. These videos were circulated to garner solidarity, to mobilise support from social movements, global governance bodies and nation states alike. The moral outrage that emerged across social media was not without history, with many people connecting this dehumanizing practice with earlier forms of enslavement and violent, forced labour. Modern Slavery is the term used to describe diverse contemporary forms of dehumanisation and exploitation, including the trafficking of humans, mostly women and children, for sexual exploitation or exploitative and inhumane labour conditions.

This conference is part of the Tropenmuseum’s ongoing series Gedeelde Geschiedenis, where we explore the afterlives of the slavery and colonial part of the RCMC’s ongoing research project Materialising Slavery. For more information on the Materialising Slavery project, which addresses the material and visual culture of slavery and colonialism, please take a look at

This conference is developed in collaboration with the Chocolonely Foundation. Tony’s Chocolonely

Image: Sammy Baloji, (Lubumbashi, DRC, 1978), ‘Mémoire 2006’. TM-6391-1

Joanna Ewart-James, Executive Director of Freedom United
Dr. Richard Benjamin, Director of the International Slavery Museum
Prof. Kamala Kempadoo, Department of Social Science, York University
Dr. Lipi Begum, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
Dr. Lenon Mhishi, Post-doctoral Research Associate, School of Histories, Languages & Cultures, University of Liverpool

More information about the program will follow shorty.

Datum: Donderdag 27 juni 2019 van 09:00 – 17:00
Locatie: Tropenmuseum, Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam
This event is free of charge. We do however ask you to reserve a seat in advance.

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