A woman carrying a load

Slavery and Unfree Labour

The Slavery & Unfree Labour research theme is led by Dr Bruce Pinnington.

The study of slavery and unfree labour includes a range of disciplines and subject fields. These include history, politics, law, archaeology, sociology, psychology, literature and the arts. The very act of defining slavery or slavery-like practices is itself a deeply political act. This is reflected in the incorporation of ‘unfree labour’ in this theme, widening the conversation to encompass those engaged with research around exploitation in the labour market.

The University is home to a wealth of research into different periods and examples of slavery and unfree labour. These range from the classical era through empire to contemporary instances of forced labour or human trafficking; from the study of slavery and slavery-like practices, to the investigation of the impacts and legacies of these practices.

The city of Liverpool itself has strong historical links with the subject, widely recognised as playing a prominent role in the transatlantic slave trade, the largest example of forced migration in human history.

The University benefits greatly from its unique relationship with the International Slavery Museum (ISM), with which it has collaborated since 2006 through the jointly run research centre: the Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS).

Slavery & Unfree Labour Research Theme Brochure

To mark Anti-Slavery Day (18 October) 2020, the Slavery & Unfree Labour research theme published a review of the projects undertaken within, and colleagues contributing to, the theme: You can download the brochure here.

Keep up to date with all the Slavery & Unfree Labour theme news here.

Colleagues can visit the theme intranet page here.