Antislavery Usable Past
An AHRC-funded Care for the Future project
University of Nottingham
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Making the antislavery past usable for contemporary abolition


There are approximately 36 million slaves alive today: more than at any point in history. Our interdisciplinary investigation into antislavery legacies, across history and multiple geographies, shows that applied knowledge of the antislavery past offers a way to 'care for the future'

Professor Kevin Bales, project investigator, discusses some of the themes of the Usable Past project.

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Project team

  • Jean Allain: Project investigator
  • Kevin Bales: Project investigator
  • Sarah Colley: Project officer
  • Katie Donington: Postdoctoral fellow
  • Hannah Jeffery: PhD student 
  • Rebecca Nelson: PhD student
  • John Oldfield: Project investigator
  • Zoe Trodd: Project investigator
  • Mary Wills: Postdoctoral fellow
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Latest news

World's first massive open online course about ending slavery

Now is your chance to learn about this major human rights issue with the world's first online course about contemporary slavery. Course commences 8 May 2017. Sign up now.

University of Nottingham American Studies honorary professor and Centre for Research in Race and Rights advisory board member receives honorary degree

On July 13th, the University of Nottingham awarded Kevin Bales an honorary doctorate, in recognition of his leadership of the global antislavery movement

Postdoctoral fellow's research featured on BBC documentary

Katie Donington's research into slavery features in the two-part BBC series Britain's Forgotten Slave-Owners, shown on BBC 2 at 9pm on July 16 and 22. Based in the Department of American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for Research in Race and Rights, Dr. Donington holds a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Antislavery Usable Past project (AHRC).

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Antislavery Usable Past

Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation
27 High Street
Hull, HU1 1NE

telephone: 01482 305174

Email: antislaveryusablepast@gmail.com