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When is it appropriate to apply the term ‘slavery’—a concept that appears to rest on a property right—to patterns of exploitation in contemporary society, when no state extends formal recognition to the possibility of the ownership of property in a human being? Historians, who generally position themselves as enemies of anachronism, may be particularly resistant to the use of an ancient term to describe a twenty-first century reality. And jurists have often been understandably reluctant to employ a word whose historical meaning was so closely tied to a specific property relationship that has long since been abolished in Europe and the Americas.


Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.