Published: Sept. 25, 2013

The University of Colorado Boulder will host a conference that explores the phenomenon of slavery from a global, historical perspective on Sept. 27-28.

The event will include scholars specializing in the study of slavery in ancient, medieval and modern contexts and in global regions that include Western, pre-Columbian, African, Asian and Muslim. Titled “What is a Slave Society: an International Conference on the Nature of Slavery as a Global Historical Phenomenon,” the event will be held in the British and Irish Studies room of Norlin Library.

The event, free and open to the public, was organized by CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Catherine Cameron and classics Professor Noel Lenski and will include 18 scholars from around the world.

The conference will focus on the multiple forms of slavery from around the globe in a variety of cultures and in all historical periods -- from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi to the sex parlors of contemporary Bangkok.

Participating scholars in addition to Cameron and Lenski are classics Professor Peter Hunt of CU-Boulder as well as faculty from Stanford University, the University of Texas-Austin, McGill University in Montreal, Colorado State University, the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the University of Virginia, Indiana University, Michigan State University, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, Andong University in Seoul, York University in Toronto, the Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The scholars will discuss the scales of slaveholding practices, as well as definitions of a slave society and whether slaveholding practices are universal or particular to individual cultures. Various presentations will touch on slavery in past and present locations like Africa, Korea, Brazil, Greece, the Middle East and the American South.

The event is sponsored by the CU-Boulder departments of anthropology, classics and history, the Center for Western Civilization, the Implementation of Multicultural Perspectives and Approaches in Research and Teaching, the Graduate Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Vice Chancellor’s Research Council, the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, the President’s Fund for the Humanities, the Kayden Award Committee and the Mediterranean Studies Group.

Lunch and snacks will be provided. For more information on the conference visit

Catherine Cameron, 303-492-0408
Noel Lenski, 303-492-8184
Jim Scott, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3114