The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Brown University.


The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ) is a scholarly research center with a public humanities mission. Recognizing that racial and chattel slavery were central to the historical formation of the Americas and the modern world, the CSSJ creates a space for the interdisciplinary study of the historical forms of slavery while also examining how these legacies shape the contemporary world.

The projects of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice include Human Trafficking, which explores contemporary forms of human bondage and engages in public programming around this issue; (2) Investigating the American Criminal Justice System, focused on prisons and relations between the police and communities of color; (3) the Freedom Archive, a project that creates an inventory of materials in Brown University Library's Special Collections related to slavery and abolition to help scholars more easily access these items; (4) the Global Curatorial Project, an exhibition and curatorial project presents both the global interconnectedness of Atlantic slavery and the slave phenomena, as well as illuminates an alternative view about the history of our global modernity; (5) the Race, Medicine, and Social Justice cluster designed to explore the history and persistence of structural racism in biomedicine as it intersects with economic and social conditions, with a focus on reimagining the knowledge we produce about race and health from a social justice perspective; (6) Education and Race, a project focused on questions that explore the implications for policy and pedagogy when we deepen our knowledge about the intersections between race, racism, schools and other forms of social inequality; and last, A Comparative History of Slavery, a collaborative project between CSSJ and Harvard University, which is focused on creating a network of scholars from a variety of national and international institutions focused on the history of slavery.


In 2003, Brown University President Ruth Simmons appointed a Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice (SCSJ) to explore University historical in relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave phenomena. The SCSJ, which included faculty members, undergraduate and graduate students, and administrators, devoted three years to this task, uncovering, documenting, and discussing Brown's history and relationship to American slavery and the European phenomena in owning African people. The SCSJ also sponsored...

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