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Redrawing Slavery

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Groundbreaking research exploring the origins and development of slavery in both illegal and legal forms.

The existence of modern-day slavery has added to the long-standing debate about the nature and definition of enslavement. This project questions our current understanding of slavery by exploring how legal concepts, not just criminal exploitation, contributed to slavery in the past and the present.

Redrawing slavery is developing a new theoretical approach to the emergence of slavery and its development over time.


Lead researchers

Judith Spicksley

Project funded by


Examining the process of enslavement at a number of key points in history, this project delivers an extensive reassessment of the origins and development of slavery from the earliest laws to present day.

The Impact

In order to tackle slavery we need to understand the factors that brought it into being and the mechanisms that supported it. This research is revealing the factors that justified the practice of enslavement in the past, and investigating why slavery still exists today.

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