Read my chapter in the Palgrave International Handbook on Human Trafficking


I'm thrilled to share that my chapter in The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking is now available for free online.

The article is entitled: Aesthetic Whistle-Blowers: The Importance and Limitations of Art and Media in Addressing Human Trafficking

Yes, a mouthful. 

But also, I hope thoughtful and something that will challenge you to think about the ways in which art might be used in the global movement to address the injustice of modern day slavery.

The article grew out of my research during my MA program in English and Transitional Justice at Western University in 2018. 

My research project led me into the work of the 18th Century poet and playwright Hannah More who was an important voice in the abolition movement, and evangelical Christian often overlooked by scholarship. Studying about her life influenced this chapter.

For this chapter in the Handbook, I looked at different writers (not just More) from very diverse backgrounds and timeframes (spanning the 18th to 21st century).  It goes without saying that this article barely scratches the surface of the surface of abolition writing. 

But there, I said it.  

However, the work I focused on was of interest to me and informs my view of what creative practitioners can glean from others who have demonstrated a passion, wit and skill in using the arts to address injustice.

I hope you enjoy it.  Drop me a note in the comments or by email to let me know what you think!

Here's the abstract:

As academic research focused on human trafficking garners more public attention, art-focused responses to human trafficking are on the rise. Film, theatre, public art installments, and popular television shows bring human trafficking to light in both positive and negative ways. Works of literature in the past such as Hannah More’s antislavery poetry in the late eighteenth century and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writing in the twentieth century disrupted the status quo.

Their work influenced multiple levels of society, including government policy and practice, in regard to the transatlantic slave trade as well as the horrors of enslavement and forced labor in the Gulag system in the USSR, respectively. Can contemporary works of art do for human trafficking what More’s and Solzhenitsyn’s work did in their day? First, this chapter will examine how writers can influence public perception by alerting readers to the complexity and nature of human trafficking to serve as “aesthetic whistle-blowers” and will highlight literary works that have sounded the alarm. Secondly, it will explore some of the pitfalls or ways that literature can be unhelpful to antislavery efforts.

This chapter therefore considers how world literature positions itself to alert audiences to the realities of trafficking in order to help build social and political will necessary to address human trafficking.

Read the full article here: Aesthetic Whistle-Blowers: The Importance and Limitations of Art and Media in Addressing Human Trafficking


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