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Over the last two decades, fighting modern slavery and human trafficking has become a cause célèbre. Yet large numbers of researchers, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, workers, and others who would seem like natural allies in the fight against modern slavery and trafficking are hugely skeptical of these movements. They object to how the problems are framed, and are skeptical of the “new abolitionist” movement. Why? This book tackles key controversies surrounding the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movements head on. Champions and skeptics explore the fissures and fault lines that surround efforts to fight modern slavery and human trafficking today. These include: whether efforts to fight modern slavery displace or crowd out support for labor and migrant rights; whether and to what extent efforts to fight modern slavery mask, naturalize, and distract from racial, gendered, and economic inequality; and whether contemporary anti-slavery and anti-trafficking crusaders' use of history are accurate and appropriate.
Memory is as the affection: we remember the things which we love and the things which we hate.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Almost nothing renders us human as much as our unique capacity for memory. Other animals surely have memory in biological and even social forms. They can do amazing things in flocks and herds. But no other creatures can use memory to create, to record experience, to forge self-conscious associations, to form and practice language, to know, collect, narrate, and write their pasts. We not only can know at least some of our past; we know that we can know it. Sometimes it seems that memory really is the root, the fountain of human intelligence. It is this deeply human power of memory that makes it so ubiquitous, so essential to human life, but also such a problem and such a subject of inquiry. As the Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit has written: “Memory is knowledge from the past. It is not necessarily knowledge about the past” (Margalit, 2004). In everyday life, and in the world of scholarship (whether cognitive psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, literature, or history), all considerations of memory seem perpetually to ride on the teeter-totter of trust and distrust, up and down, with distrust carrying the most weight, and trust struggling to keep the teeter-totter moving at all. Can we believe what memory provides us? Can we afford not to?
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