Abstract: Slavery and anti-slavery were key motifs of political imagination in the age of global Empire. This review essay discusses Amalia Ribi Forclaz’s Humanitarian Imperialism: The Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880–1940, Richard Huzzey’s Freedom Burning: Anti-Slavery and Empire in Victorian Britain, and Ashutosh Kumar’s Coolies of the Empire: Indentured Indians in the Sugar Colonies, 1830–1920 to explore the multifaceted ties between slavery, abolitionism, humanitarianism, and colonial Empire. The essay goes on to argue that anti-slavery emerged as an idiom for globalization in an imperial age—defined by the anxieties engendered by a massively accelerating mobility and the frictions underlying the colonial civilizing mission.
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Our new issue features a conversation between Jasbir K. Puar and Oishik Sircar, available open-access on the Humanity journal website. The issue also includes essays on the politics humanitarian architecture and the Parisian “Yellow Bubble,” family planning projects in postcolonial Morocco, how Amnesty International's formative years shaped professional human rights activism, and the linguistic and affective labor of field interpreters for UN missions. It contains review essays on theories of political violence and on global histories of slavery and indentured labor.View entire issue >
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This essay is part of a symposium on Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. In his now classic essay published in NLH in 1976, “The Origin of Genres,” Tzvetan Todorov famously articulated the following: “It is because genres exist as an institution that they function as ‘horizons of expectation’ for readers, and as ‘models of writing’ for authors.” He goes on to argue that “Genres communicate with the society in which they flourish by means of institutionalization,” and Continue reading →
This essay is part of a symposium on Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Which forms are most amenable for narrating the afterlives of slavery and why? Which configurations of race and power come to the fore and which recede when contemporary Afro-diasporic writers take up the slave narrative to address contemporary human-rights violations in Africa? What happens to the mutually constitutive relationship between race and form across different spaces and times? These are the questions that animate Continue reading →