“Racial Capitalism’s Challenge to International Labor Law: Addressing Prison Labor in the U.S.”” | Adelle Blackett & Bedour Alagraa

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Slavery is not a metaphor, yet the implications of the centuries long transatlantic slave trade, and the literature on the Black Atlantic, are mostly ignored in the fast and furious international legal invocations of modern slavery. Through an analysis of International Labor Organization-US dialogue on racial disparities in forced labor in US prisons, Blackett will argue that transnational labor law is deeply rooted in the persisting presence of a racial capitalism that is too easily relegated to a distant past. Reflecting on insights generated through this historical account, Blackett will comment on debates about forced labor in our current moment, as we confront prolonged and intractable crises during COVID-19.

Speaker: Adelle Blackett is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labor Law and Development at McGill University, where she teaches and researches in the areas of labor and employment law, trade regulation, law and development, critical race theory, and slavery and the law. 

Respondent: Bedour Alagraa is Assistant Professor of Political and Social Thought in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in Black Political Thought, especially Caribbean political thought, African anti-colonial thought, and Black Marxism(s). 

This is the third lecture in the Rapoport Center's Fall 2020 Colloquium, “Inequality, Labor, and Human Rights: The Future of Work in the Age of Pandemic.” It is part of a new inter-disciplinary and cross-campus Pop-Up Institute, “Beyond the Future of Work: New Paradigms for Addressing Global Inequality,” supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Dial-In Information

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Monday, October 19, 2020 at 4:15pm to 6:15pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Policy & Law, Social Justice


College of Liberal Arts, School of Law

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, Families, General Public





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