Independent, studied at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
human rights; human rights activism; slavery; anti-slavery activism; Underground Railroad; law
I have degrees in English (BA), Arts Administration (MA) and in Human Rights (LLM). After completing my LLM at Birkbeck in 2010, an offer of research supervision prompted me to commence part-time doctoral studies that year. At the time I was still in full time work as an equality adviser in higher education, a post I had held since 2000. After leaving that role in 2012 to focus on my research, I worked as a part-time volunteer for the Equality & Diversity Forum Research Network, a national umbrella group of equality and human rights academics. I am currently Programme Action Officer for my local branch of Soroptimist International, the world’s largest women’s service organisation with consultative status at the United Nations.
My broad research interest is in human rights activism and its impact on legal and social change. For my doctoral thesis I investigated whether contemporary human rights, human rights activism, and the impact of that activism can be fully understood without also understanding the history of racialised chattel slavery as practiced in the United States, the anti-slavery resistance that eventually emerged, and the backlash such resistance provoked in turn. In an attempt to answer ‘what is to be done when injustice persists after justice has apparently been done’, I also explored slavery’s lingering, persistent aftermaths, drawing unsettling parallels between the success (and failures) of today’s, and yesterday’s, anti-slavery activism, linked by what I call ‘the unholy, unruly rule of law’.
My supervisor at Birkbeck was Dr Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, and my thesis was examined in February 2017 by Professors Marcus Rediker and Avery F Gordon. I was awarded my doctorate in June 2017.
‘When freeing the slaves was illegal: “reverse trafficking” and the unholy, unruly rule of law’. In The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking (forthcoming tbc, 2019)
‘Probing the gap between equality and human rights’. In Beyond 2015: Shaping the Future of Equality, Human Rights and Social Justice (2015, Equality & Diversity Forum).