Brown Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Research Clusters

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Center’s work is organized around the following research clusters. 


Research Clusters

Human Trafficking(led by Prof. Elena Shih): This project explores contemporary forms of human bondage and engages in public programming around this issue.

Freedom Archive. This project 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.

Race, Medicine, and Social Justice: (led by Prof. Lundy Braun): This cluster explores the history and persistence of structural racism in biomedicine as it intersects with economic and social conditions. We focus on reimagining the knowledge we produce about race and health from a social justice perspective.

Race, Slavery, Colonialism and Capitalism:  (led by Prof. Anthony Bogues):  This new research cluster explores the way that race, slavery, and colonialism have shaped global capitalism.  This research cluster is reshaping scholar’s understanding of the history and growth of capitalism and will bring together the best scholars in the world.  This is a three year project that is co-led by CSSJ and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam).

History, Justice and Democracy:  (TBA):  The making of the modern world was in part constituted by the historical injustices of colonialism and racial slavery.  These injustices have played out in contemporary phenomena such as apartheid, displacement, discrimination, and other forms of domination in which substantial portions of the human population have been deprived of rights, economic opportunity, social mobility, or even their very lives.  All these forms of historical and contemporary wrongs have generated a plethora of scholarship around different forms of justice: reparative, redistributive, transitional and, of course, reparations.  However, how do forms of historical and contemporary injustices shape practices of democracy?  Are forms of democracy adequate responses to historical and contemporary forms of injustice? This reserach cluster is a joint collaborative project between the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.

Mass Incarceration and Punishment in America(led by Prof. Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve): The research cluster on “Mass Incarceration and Punishment in America” seeks to examine punishment and the U.S. carceral state through an interdisciplinary lens. We examine the origins and consequences of mass incarceration. In doing this work we operate from the frame that race and anti-Black racism are cornerstones to understanding the vast leviathan of punishment in America.


Learn more about the Center's other projectsseminar series, and public engagement.