Brown & Slavery & Justice

Research and Scholarship

Collaborative academic work inspired by the Slavery and Justice Report and anchored in the Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice reaches the national and international public through exhibitions, public events and a forthcoming documentary series.

What’s the connection between historical slavery and mass incarceration today? How are chattel slavery and human trafficking similar and different? Why does anti-Black racism still persist, more than 150 years after the institution of racial slavery ended? 

Brown’s community of scholars, staff and learners have tackled these and other difficult questions for decades. Since the 2006 publication of Brown’s Slavery and Justice Report, their work has increasingly informed national conversations about historical and contemporary injustices. 

Each year, academic departments, centers and institutes at Brown convene scholars from across the country and world, generating crucial new insights on pressing issues. They make connections between historical slavery and contemporary race and power issues, such as mass incarceration and human trafficking. And they inspire Brown graduates to join the conversation as they become influential curators, scholars, activists and more.

Other departments, centers and institutes at Brown studying related issues of race — and the critical challenges arising from systems of bias rooted in racial slavery — include the Department of Africana Studies, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, among others.

Featured Projects

A partner effort among Brown scholars, volunteers and Native American leaders, Stolen Relations has recovered thousands of Indigenous enslavement records, drawing attention to a topic rarely broached in school history lessons.
On the 400th anniversary of the start of slave trade in the British American colonies, students and faculty at Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice are engaging in research for a PBS miniseries directed by renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson, hosting a two-day symposium on the lasting effects of slavery and more.

More Research and Scholarship

Research clusters at the Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice encourage new scholarship and spark critical debate in areas such as human trafficking, mass incarceration and democratic injustice.
The CSSJ’s reading group brings together Brown students and faculty, artists, formerly incarcerated organizers and more for discussions on films, writing and art that confronts the connections between captivity and power.
The CSSJ and the Smithsonian Institution have partnered with museums and scholars across the globe to mount an international exhibition focused on the history and legacy of slavery.
Following two years of study and hands-on work experience, graduates of the Public History of Slavery fellowship program go on to make an impact at major museums, historical preservation organizations and more.