Beyond Discourse Critical and Empirical Approaches to Human Trafficking
While often constructed as a universally abhorred form of violence, the concept of human trafficking continues to raise contentious debates in activism, policy, and scholarship. Mired in divisions around the role of the state, gender and sexuality, labor exploitation, and migration, factions disagree over definitions of trafficking, and some urge we abandon the term altogether.
This two-day conference will apply the contributions of critical anti-trafficking scholarship to the demand for empirical research on human trafficking in our communities and around the world. It uses the insights of discursive critiques to conduct better research on the prevalence, nature, and prevention of social problems that have become known as human trafficking. We seek interdisciplinary and intersectional conversations to better understand the continuities and ruptures across investigations of human trafficking, building toward more just and effective frameworks for research on exploitation and violence.
On April 4 and 5, the University of Kansas will host an interdisciplinary symposium examining human trafficking research. Kamala Kempadoo (York University) will open the symposium with a keynote address on Thursday, April 4 at 4 pm, with a reception to follow. Friday, April 5 will feature panels by regional and national scholars, including Amy Farrell (Northeastern University) and a closing keynote by Sally Engle Merry (New York University).
All papers related to human trafficking research are welcome, including but not limited to:
- Empirical Approaches to Illicit and Criminalized Industries
- Tracking Consequences of the Carceral Framework
- Innovations in Critical Media Analysis
- Ethics of Representation and Storytelling Against Narrative Tropes
- Long Shadow of the Mann Act: Historical Precedents and Alternatives
- Politics of Fieldwork across Ideological Difference
- Survivor-Led Research Initiatives & Collaboration
- Translating Critical Research to Policy Makers and Other Stakeholders