The Antislavery Early Research Association (Antislavery ERA) brings together a group of interdisciplinary graduate students and early career researchers of slavery and antislavery. Currently representing over 35 different institutions from all over the world, Antislavery ERA builds collaborative partnerships between students by employing interdisciplinary approaches to original scholarship that paves the way for the future of antislavery research. With contemporary slavery existing at the nexus of social, economic and cultural forces, it demands responsive methodologies and constantly evolving scholarship to tackle its changing nature, and Antislavery ERA aims to meet these challenges head on.
Beginning at a conference at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (October 2015), and developing through conferences and workshops at Masaryk University (Brno, November 2016) and the University of Liverpool (October 2017), the PGRN represents a groundswell of new antislavery scholarship. Over the course of its lifespan, the network has grown and evolved to provide a platform for meaningful dialogue on contemporary challenges and novel solutions, as well as constantly seeking the inclusion of new researchers who apply innovative approaches to this field of work.
Around the world, there is a growing body of early career researchers developing scholarship related to slavery and antislavery, from a wide range of disciplines. Yet, opportunities to unite, communicate, and collaborate are few and far between. The Antislavery ERA aims to change this by connecting early researchers, creating a community of scholars that support one another, and providing a pathway for engagement with actors outside of institution academia, from survivors, activists and grassroots scholars to NGOs and policy makers.
Antislavery scholarship today requires collaboration, transgression of traditional disciplinary boundaries, and an outward-facing agenda. Antislavery ERA provides a stepping stone for early researchers to embed themselves in the field, make meaningful contributions to collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship, and share that work with the rest of the world.
All members of the AHRC funded Antislavery Usable Past project, Hannah Jeffery, Katarina Schwarz and Rebecca Nelson (left to right) first came together at the inaugural Network conference, held at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation in Octboer 2015. Having taken over the reins to organise the third annual event hosted at the University of Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery in 2017, they hope to establish the Antislavery ERA as a collectivising force for early researchers in the field for many years to come.
Hannah Jeffery is a PhD candidate in the University of Nottingham’s American and Canadian Studies Department, and similarly to Rebecca and Katarina, she first became involved with the network a week into her PhD studies when she presented at the first Network event in Hull. Much to her dismay, she was unable to attend the second year’s event in Brno as she was teaching first years about the terrifying prospect of a Trump presidency (what a simpler time it was back then…), but she was back in full swing for the third annual event in Liverpool in 2017. The network has offered her the chance to share research with scholars and academics with which she wouldn’t ordinarily come into contact with, as well as nurtured an open and invigorating environment for the growth of collaborative research.
Katarina Schwarz is a Research Fellow in the Rights Lab and PhD Candidate in the School of Law at the University of Nottingham, having transferred from Queen’s University Belfast in 2017. She first became involved in the Network on the second day of her doctoral studies – having stepped off a 45 hour flight from New Zealand to Belfast the day before, she travelled to Hull to participate in the first Network conference and has not missed an event since (although the rest were attended without the jetlag). She values the sense of community that has been fostered over the three-year lifespan of the Network, the opportunities for collaboration that have arisen as a result of it, and the inspiring and impassioned conversations about the future of the field that have taken place every time participants come together.
Rebecca Nelson is a PhD Candidate at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation. Like Hannah and Katarina, Rebecca first became involved in the network as a presenter at its inaugural event in Hull, October 2015. This network has provided her with a brilliant opportunity to meet and have discussions with a wealth of early career researchers across a variety of disciplines, from a whole host of different academic institutions and even different countries. Going forward, Rebecca is looking forward to seeing the network thrive and bring together more passionate scholars hoping to shape the field of antislavery research in the future.
Welcoming Minh Dang
As we look to establish the Network as a positive force for the future of antislavery research, we are very pleased to welcome Minh Dang to the Executive Committee of the Network. Minh recently launched the Survivor Alliance, an online platform which enables survivors to connect with each other and experts and leaders in the anti-slavery field, and features a referral service for consulting opportunities. We look forward to working with Minh and the Survivor Alliance to create a strong network of early researchers that serve and respect survivors.
About Minh: Minh Dang is currently a PhD student in the School of Politics and International Relations, at the University of Nottingham. She is studying the wellbeing of survivors of slavery and human trafficking. Minh is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area region of California and a proud two-time UC Berkeley alum. Minh earned her B.A. in Sociology and Masters in Social Welfare, with an emphasis on Community Mental Health. Minh is an avid backpacker, poet, and runner. She is a fan of farmers’ markets, loves to sing, and controls the center of the soccer pitch. You will rarely find her without a journal or post-it notes, and she hopes to one day launch a stationery line called Minhspiration. She is also an auntie, ama, and dear friend to many.
You can access Minh’s website and read her formal bio here.