International Workshop on Forced Marriage in Conflict Situations (October 2010)


Document Type


Publication Date



15-16 October, 2010
Organizer: Professor Annie Bunting (
Location: 305 York Lanes, York University

Bringing together historians of slavery and women’s human rights scholars, this unique workshop will explore the phenomenon of forced marriage / enslavement in comparative and historical perspective. Speakers will explore the merits of prosecuting those responsible for forced marriage under the heading of sexual slavery, forced marriage, or enslavement. They will also explore the historical antecedents of servile marriage and enslavement of women.

Presenters will include Rosaline M’Carthy who is the Chairperson of the Women’s Forum in Sierra Leone – a national umbrella organization of women’s groups. She has been working with the Coalition of Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations for the past three years and will speak about the experiences of girls and women victims in the Sierra Leone war. Other presenters will discuss comparable practices in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Most interesting will be the conversations generated not only across case studies but also across time; papers and discussions will compare current problems with historical practices of slavery.

Speakers include:

Kevin Bales, President, Free the Slaves
Gaëlle Breton-LeGoff, Faculty, l’Université du Québec à Montréal
Annie Bunting, Associate Professor in Law and Society, York University
Khristopher Carlson, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
Paul Lovejoy, Director, Harriet Tubman Institute; Canada Research Chair in African Diaspora History, York University
Rosaline M’Carthy, President, Women’s Forum, Sierra Leone
Binaifer Nowrojee, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA), Harvard Law School
Obiora Chinedu Okafor, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
Joel Quirk, wilberforce Institute on the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull
Benedetta Rossi, RCUK Fellow in International Slavery, University of Liverpool
Karlee Sapoznik, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Harriet Tubman Institute, York University
Jody Sarich, DePaul University; Free the Slaves

The workshop is supported by the Nathanson Centre, as well as York’s Office of the Provost, the Vice-President research and Innovation, the Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples.

If you are interested in attending RSVP to Kathy Mirzaei,

Further information about this program can be found at


Images information: The conflict in Sierra Leone ended in 2002. Women walk in Freetown in August 2010. Photo, Neil Cole.

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