Human Trafficking: Realities & Representations

In this course we will engage in a critical exploration of historical and current understandings and experiences of global human trafficking.  This means that we will closely examine what is now called “human trafficking” by analyzing the political, cultural, and legal discourses that have made this problem visible.  In addition to a critical orientation to the concept of human trafficking (and the various other concepts that it intersects, such as smuggling, slavery, migration, and forced labor), we will wrestle with the myriad economic, social, cultural, and political forces that are entangled in the local and global experiences of trafficking.

A Course Blog

Why a course blog? One of the primary goals of the class is to empower students to think critically about human rights and human trafficking. We will talk a lot about the power of representation in shaping how human rights are understood, in giving voice to certain perspectives and experiences, and framing the legal apparatuses that aim to respond to human rights violations. To engage in a blog will place students inside the very discourses we aim to interrogate.  Thus, the blog will be an opportunity for students to strengthen analytical skills, cultivate an authentic voice, and grasp the complexities of the realities and representations of human trafficking.

There are a lot of different blogs out there in the digital universe!  Our course blog is modeled off the kind of blog that provides in-depth and well researched analysis. These tend to be a bit longer, between 1,500-2,000 words.

Your blog posts will combine the rigors of academic research and analysis with the concise and accessible style of blogging.  A few blogs that I find exemplary include that of the African American Intellectual History Society called Black Perspectives, the Ohio State Department of History’s Origins blog (though they call it an online magazine), and the blog and online reports hosted by the Barnard Center for Research on Women.  Here also is an example of a well researched but shorter blog post that I wrote on the Feminist Wire.

 Getting Started

All blog posts start with a prompt that I provide.  From there, students will use course readings and outside research to create their responses.  More guidelines and research tools are found under the Research tab on this site (as well on your syllabus).  If you are new to the WordPress blogging platform, no worries! I will cover the basics in class and the Office for Distance Education and eLearning has lots of resources.