Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Led by Simmons Center Faculty Fellows, research clusters examine the legacies of racial slavery through scholarship and public engagement. The clusters encourage new scholarship and critical debates to create forms of knowledge that intervene in the world. The Center’s work is organized around the following research clusters:

Active Research Clusters

The making of the modern world was in part constituted by the historical injustices of colonialism and racial slavery, a joint project between the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs and the Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.
This project explores contemporary forms of human bondage and engages in public programming around this issue.
This research cluster seeks to examine punishment and the U.S. carceral state through an interdisciplinary lens. The cluster operates from the frame that race and anti-Black racism are cornerstones to understanding the vast leviathan of punishment in America.
This cluster explores the history and persistence of structural racism in biomedicine as it intersects with economic and social conditions. We focus on reimagining the knowledge we produce about race and health from a social justice perspective.
This new research cluster explores the way that race, slavery, and colonialism have shaped global capitalism. This is a three year project that is co-led by he Simmons Center and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam).
This endeavor to “follow the money” investigates the technologies of finance that facilitated the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Atlantic plantation complex by developing new perspectives on the financial mechanics of slaving operations and the trade’s relationship to maritime insurance, commodity brokerage, currency arbitrage, banking, and other elements of the financial services industry.