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Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)

Under Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD's), we understand all those contemporary forms of exploitation, undesired dependency and/or structural inequalities, that are either direct historical legacies of slavery or resemble asymmetrical power relations coming close to conditions under slavery in terms of deprivation of rights to chosen mobility and decent compensation for work.

 

Why Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)?

We, Dr. Lotte Pelckmans (BCDSS fellow 2019–2020) and Sarah Dusend (BCDSS research and study coordinator) decided to set up this network, which started in January 2020, to give more visibility and underline the importance of asymmetrical dependencies in the contemporary world. Currently, the majority of researchers in the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies cluster of excellence at the Univeristy of Bonn, focuses on past forms of asymmetrical dependencies, but the majority of their PhD students works on contemporary aspects. Hence the demand for a forum to exchange ideas about contemporary continuities, which are often connected in many different ways to the past, is evident. Finally, we want to contribute to the cluster's promise to generate a debate and public outreach on the topic of asymmetrical dependencies and we will certainly find ways to do so when addressing ongoing societal issues.

Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD)

Under Contemporary Asymmetrical Dependencies (CAD's), we understand all those contemporary forms of exploitation, undesired dependency and/or structural inequalities, that are either direct historical legacies of slavery or resemble asymmetrical power relations coming close to conditions under slavery in terms of deprivation of rights to chosen mobility and decent compensation for work. We can hereby think of a range of dependencies, from sweatshops and call-centers over migrant exploitation and human trafficking to aspects of the carceral system in the US. In short, both small and large-scale institutionalized forms of (undesired) exclusion based on specific features, ranging from inherited status (caste, slave descent), as well as gender, race, ethnicity, religious background, will be considered as contemporary asymmetrical dependencies.

Who?

Everyone interested in contemporary relations of (asymmetrical) dependencies.

Academics, Practitioners, development organizations, journalists, etc

What?

The current goals and aims of the CAD group are to constitute a network and a study group with regular meetings (at least once every two weeks), aimed at intellectual exchange among the members, with a level of administrative /institutional administration as low as possible for the time being.

The focus is on:

  • networking
  • exchange of literature and readings
  • platform for discussion of both work and central readings
  • platform for knowledge exchange

We work as an informal platform where everyone feels free to express and argue, be open about intellectual struggles and embrace the idea to learn by doing and by sharing creative approaches.

Longer Term Future Goals and Aims

  • joint collaboration towards conferences and/or e.g. mini seminar series within the  cluster sharing information about relevant activities, websites and publications in the field
  • public outreach: docs and talks, filmed lectures

Readings

We have started ordering important books and works in the field with the library. The list is available here

All the cluster books, including those related to the topics of CAD, can be found in the central library.

When?

  • regular meetings every two weeks
  • location: Heinz Heinen Kolleg, Heusallee 18–4, Bonn or online via Zoom
  • time frame: 2:00 pm, max two hours, optional: lunch at 1:00 pm 

Contact

Ayesha Hussein: ahussain[at]uni-bonn.de

Lotte Pelckmans: pelckmans[at]hum.ku.dk

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