Modern Slavery and the Media: Representations and Responses

Kristofer Allerfeldt's picture
Call for Papers
January 17, 2017 to January 18, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Geography, Journalism and Media Studies, Public Policy, Slavery, Social History / Studies

Call for papers:

Modern Slavery and the Media: Representations and Responses

A workshop within ESRC Project: 'Negating Humanity': Modern Slavery in its Historical Context and its Implications for Policy

Central London. January 17-18th, 2018

The focus of this workshop is to explore how public perception and media portrayals of slavery since “abolition” in the US and UK have influenced/been influenced by legislation in the realm of efforts to abolish or ameliorate slavery. The remit of ‘the media’ is broad, and will look at film, television, fiction, reportage, social media and all forms of other broadcasting and reporting. The timeframe is similarly wide-ranging, with the workshop covering topics as varied as the media as driver of US anti-trafficking policy in the late nineteenth century, representations of ‘modern slavery’ that have influenced the Modern Slavery Act in the UK, and public reaction driving policy with regard to “sex robots” in present day and future society.

The approach is inter-disciplinary with workshop participants already drawn from academia, NGOs and law enforcement and we would particularly welcome papers from inter-disciplinary scholars and specialists in film studies and criminology.

We welcome submissions on any aspect of the above broad area, but would particularly welcome papers that reflect on these questions:

  • Do media portrayals contribute to a sensationalist representation of slavery that is de-politicised?
  • What does an analysis of historical and contemporary anti-slavery legislation tell us about the ability to disrupt forms of slavery and to provide protection to victims?
  • What may become the key battle grounds and concerns of the future with regard to ongoing efforts to combat modern slavery tomorrow and beyond?

This workshop is being organised by those involved in the broader ESRC funded project:

Please submit abstracts to Kristofer Allerfeldt ( and Lesley Robinson ( ) by October 1, 2017. Abstracts should be up to 250 words and please also include full contact details.