Justice Robert D. Rucker Lecture

Thursday, September 27, 4 p.m. Benson Classroom

Vice Dean and Professor of Law Karen E. Bravo
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


Black Interests in Slaveries

In the last two decades, the world woke up to the persistence of the traffic in human persons, a severe form of human exploitation. The use of “slavery” to designate the traffic, and other severe forms of contemporary exploitation evokes and invokes the 400-year-long traffic of Africans across the Atlantic and their enslavement in the New World. However, the voices of Diasporic Blacks are often absent in these debates. Instead, the implicit and explicit invocations of comparisons to the enslavement of the ancestors of Diasporic Blacks are used to further a superficial understanding of contemporary forms of exploitation and limited efforts to prevent or eradicate them.

In this lecture, Vice Dean Bravo will explore Black interests in slaveries past, present, and future, including uses of the term in the context of the discourse on human trafficking. The interests vary depending on the temporal period: the Past (understanding historic slavery); the Present (identifying and dealing with legacies of historic slavery); and the Future (disrupting the legacy).


Karen E. Bravo is a Vice Dean and Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.  She teaches business and international law, including Illicit International Markets (concerning the transborder traffic in people, money and drugs).  Professor Bravo’s research interests include regional integration, labor liberalization, business and human rights, slavery, and human trafficking.

Professor Bravo’s publications include:  Exploring the Analogy between Modern Trafficking in Humans and the Trans-Atlantic Slave TradeFree Labor! A Labor Liberalization Solution to Modern Trafficking in PersonsInterrogating the State’s Role in Human Trafficking; and Interrogating Everyperson’s Roles in Today’s Slaveries.  She also co-edited the volume The Business and Human Rights Landscape: Moving Forward, Looking Back published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies (B.A); Columbia University School of Law (JD); and New York University School of Law (LL.M.).  Professor Bravo practiced corporate law with international law firms in New York and Massachusetts.

This lecture has been approved for 1 CLE Credit

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