On Coerced Labor

Work and Compulsion after Chattel Slavery


On Coerced Labor focuses on those forms of labor relations that have been overshadowed by the “extreme” categories (wage labor and chattel slavery) in the historiography. It covers types of work lying between what the law defines as “free labor” and “slavery.” The frame of reference is the observation that although chattel slavery has largely been abolished in the course of the past two centuries, other forms of coerced labor have persisted in most parts of the world. While most nations have increasingly condemned the continued existence of slavery and the slave trade, they have tolerated labor relationships that involve violent control, economic exploitation through the appropriation of labor power, restriction of workers’ freedom of movement, and fraudulent debt obligations.

Contributors are: Lisa Carstensen, Christian G. De Vito, Justin F. Jackson, Christine Molfenter, David Palmer, Nicola Pizzolato, Luis F.B. Plascencia, Magaly Rodríguez García, Kelvin Santiago-Valles, Nicole J. Siller, Marcel van der Linden, Sven Van Melkebeke.

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Marcel van der Linden is Senior Fellow at the International Institute of Social History, Professor of Social Movement History at the University of Amsterdam, and President of the International Social History Association.

Magaly Rodríguez García is Assistant Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. She has published on human trafficking and child labor, the history and definitions of prostitution, including “Defining Commercial Sexualities, Past and Present” (Ashgate, 2016).
Acknowledgments ... vii
List of Maps, Tables and Figures ... viii
Notes on Contributors ... ix

1 Introduction ... 1
Marcel van der Linden and Magaly Rodríguez García

Part 1 Coerced Labor in International and National Law

2 On the Legal Boundaries of Coerced Labor ... 11
Magaly Rodríguez García

3 Modern Slavery: The Legal Tug-of-war between Globalization and Fragmentation ... 30
Nicole Siller

4 Forced Labor and Institutional Change in Contemporary India ... 50
Christine Molfenter

Part 2 Convict and Military Labor

5 Forced Labor in Colonial Penal Institutions across the Spanish, u.s., British, French Atlantic, 1860s–1920s ... 73
Kelvin Santiago-Valles

6 Convict Labor in the Southern Borderlands of Latin America (ca. 1750s–1910s): Comparative Perspectives ... 98
Christian G. De Vito

7 ‘A military necessity which must be pressed’: The u.s. Army and Forced Road Labor in the Early American Colonial Philippines ... 127
Justin F. Jackson

8 Foreign Forced Labor at Mitsubishi’s Nagasaki and Hiroshima Shipyards: Big Business, Militarized Government, and the Absence of Shipbuilding Workers’ Rights in World War II Japan ... 159
David Palmer

Part 3 Agricultural and Industrial Labor

9 Coerced Coffee Cultivation and Rural Agency: The Plantation-Economy of the Kivu (1918–1940) ... 187
Sven Van Melkebeke

10 “As much in bondage as they was before”: Unfree Labor during the New Deal (1935–1952) ... 208
Nicola Pizzolato

11 State-Sanctioned Coercion and Agricultural Contract Labor: Jamaican and Mexican Workers in Canada and the United States, 1909–2014 ... 225
Luis F.B. Plascencia

12 “Modern Slave Labor” in Brazil at the Intersection of Production, Migration and Resistance Networks ... 267
Lisa Carstensen

Part 4 In Lieu of a Conclusion

13 Dissecting Coerced Labor ... 293
Marcel van der Linden

Bibliography ... 323
Index ... 369
MA students, and junior and senior researchers interested in the history of work, as well as anyone concerned with contemporary debates on human trafficking and so-called “modern slavery”.
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