CfP: Debating black slavery in Management and Organizational studies from decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives

Em Portugues

Guest Editors

Prof. Cintia Cristina Silva de Araujo

Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Contábeis, Atuariais
e Financeiras – FIPECAFI (Brazil)

Prof. Alexandre Faria
Fundação Getulio Vargas – FGV EBAPE (Brazil)

Prof. Jair N. Santos
Universidade Salvador – UNIFACS (Brazil)
Universidade do Estado da Bahia – UNEB (Brazil)

Prof. Nidhi Srinivas
The New School (United States)
Western institutions report that over 30 million people in the contemporary world system can be reasonably described as enslaved (International Labour Organisation [ILO], 2012), and this number has risen dramatically with the COVID-19 pandemic and the consolidation of ‘modern slavery’ from a managerialist perspective – it “has been, is, and will likely continue to be a business” involving victims, exploiters, large corporations and consumers (Michaloiva, 2020). A contested umbrella term that includes slavery, human trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor and other forms of exploitation (Kara, 2017), modern slavery has been institutionalized in the global North as an emerging issue of contemporary capitalism (Bales, 2005) and hence transformed into a ‘global topic’ by a US-led management and organizations literature (Crane, 2013; Phung & Crane, 2018).

The US-led field of management and organizational studies (MOS) reaffirms the lasting dominant idea in the US and other countries in the West (Baptist, 2016) that black slavery is a matter of the past with remaining traces in the backward South. In contrast, decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives from both the South and North embodying black slavery epistemes and cosmologies frame ‘modern’ slavery as a changing continuation of the longue durée of colonial/racial/patriarchal slavery capitalism inaugurated in the XVI century with the ‘discovery’ of the Americas by Eurocentric conquerors/discoverers (Marable, 2015; Mignolo, 2011). Modern slavery as a ‘managerial problem’ emerges in the North in tandem with the resurgence of dewesternization, decolonization and deracialization movements on a global scale accompanied by renewed backlashes and alternatives, as well as increasingly radical dynamics of expropriation against the ‘invasive others’ in both the North and South (Stoler, 2017). The denial of slavery/enslavement as constitutive of modern management and organizations, from an increasingly heterogeneous, discriminatory and unequal Global North (Boatca, 2015), is cited by critical authors (Cooke, 2004), Afro-Diasporic voices in general (Nkomo, 1992) and, in particular, decolonial authors from the South who reframed racism and coloniality as constitutive dimensions of capitalism and predominantly Eurocentric managerial/organizational knowledge (Faria & Abdalla, 2017; Ibarra-Colado, 2006).

A growing ‘global’ Northern MOS literature on modern slavery denies these contributions by embracing a renewed ‘managerial’ agenda of sustainable development and human rights (Voss et al., 2019), which frames modern slavery as a contingent managerial problem for organizations and supply chains, which is triggered by the globalization of modern capitalism in crisis (Gold, Trautrims & Trodd, 2015; New, 2015). This managerial agenda embodying contested claims of civilizational superiority of the West/North in relation to the ‘rest of the world’ (Davis, 2011; Gonzalez, 2020; Wynter, 2003) has been put forward by North Atlantic research institutions shaping rewesternizing re-articulations of universalist debates, agendas, narratives and policies (Bales, 2005). In our view, the ‘globalization’ of modern slavery puts at risk a growing, heterogeneous and unequal population of the enslaved and the planet by denying the constitutive relationship between capitalism and black slavery highlighted by decolonial and Afro-Diasporic literature. After all, is it mere coincidence that in Latin America “the people who descend, partially or totally, from the populations colonized by the Europeans are, in their vast majority, dominated and discriminated against wherever they live?” (Quijano, 1993, p. 205).

In spite of and in response to the radicalization of Occidentalist geopolitics of knowledge and the dominance of the myth of racial democracy in Brazil, studies in several areas such as Anthropology, Sociology, History (Fernandes, 2008; Ferraro, 2019; Nascimento, 1978; Ribeiro, 1995), Architecture and Urbanism (Gomes, 1990; Santos, 2013, 2016) show how and why Brazilian capitalism continues to both challenge and reproduce discriminatory traits and structures of the colonial-slavery period/system (Baptist, 2016; Gonzalez, 2020; Sousa, 2017). These enduring dynamics embody everyday situations of racial, class and gender oppression and discrimination as well as struggles against unequal distribution of opportunities (Fernandes, 2008) within and outside higher education institutions and organizations (Bento, 2002; Jaime, Barreto & Oliveira, 2018; Silva, Vasconcelos & Lira, 2021).

These remnants of black slavery have been shaped by the confusing classification and perception of race in Brazilian society, which varies according to social context and such factors as affective ties and social class (Sansone, 1996). The intricate process of miscegenation called morenização1 (Ribeiro, 1995) implied favoring some black individuals while marginalizing others due to tone of their skin.

Sadly, organizations and management education institutions have reinforced these problems, repeating stereotypes harmful to minority groups (Paim & Pereira, 2018), ignoring and even trivializing the racialization of relationships and the differences of privileges between white professionals and individuals belonging to minority groups (Bento, 2002).

Despite the ethical commitment to the creation of scientific knowledge of quality, in both research and education, we observe an enduring disengagement with the extraordinary contributions historically produced by the ‘enslaved’ and diasporas engaged with decolonial and anti-racist struggles within and outside organizations and academia (Bernardino-Costa, Maldonado-Torres & Grosfoguel 2018; Robinson, 2000). Thus, by denying both the long duration of black slavery and the crucial contributions from decolonial and Afro-Diasporic praxis and epistemes to social justice at large, academia tends to perpetuate racist, colonialist and patriarchal MOS and business schools which are in need of decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives in both the South and North (Dar et al., 2020; Faria & Abdalla, 2017; Jaime et al., 2018; Rosa, 2014).

Due to this colonialist and frankly racist denial of the legacy of black slavery (Cooke, 2003; Godfrey, Hassard, O’Connor, Rowlinson & Ruef, 2016), Northern agendas on ‘modern slavery’ gain traction. In this scenario, the process of reconstructing and reporting the memories of the slavery period/system is usually done by privileged individuals who do not identify with the events and consequences of the colonial-slavery system, which reaffirms the dynamics of epistemic-material expropriation (Santos, 2008).

In tandem with the radicalization of coloniality and Eurocentric mechanisms of appropriation of liberating knowledge triggered by the globalization of US-led counter-revolutionary neoliberalism, a resurging decolonial and Afro-Diasporic praxis has challenged this epistemic-material brutality of more than five centuries of slave capitalism (Bernardino-Costa et al., 2018). Together with researchers from other parts of the Global South in general, Brazilian researchers have resisted, re-existed and recognized other voices, bodies, and epistemes in their search for transformative knowledge engaged with the oppressed majority that personify such an ambivalent legacy.

Organizations, universities, individuals, communities and society both challenge and reproduce the ambivalent legacy of black slavery, which is underpinned by anti-racist intersectional struggles accompanied by the radicalization of recolonizing dynamics. This call for papers aims therefore to engage a growing population struggling against the radicalization of slavery capitalism in both the North and South by fostering transformative engagement with black slavery in MOS from decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives (Mignolo, 2020; Quijano, 2000), by recognizing the remnants of black slavery in management and organizations and recovering decolonial and Afro-Diasporic epistemes.

We thus welcome diverse theories, cosmologies, methodologies and ideas in order to answer a variety of questions such as:

• In what ways can decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives help the field of Management and Organizational Studies (MOS) to fight against modern slavery, structural racism and abyssal social inequality?

• ‘Slavery’, ‘enslavement’, or ‘a proslavery system’ How do these concepts allow (or not) the radical analysis of the colonial/slave period in MOS and in the geo-historical evolution of theories and practices in the field?

• To what extent do predominantly Eurocentric MOS contribute to global capitalism in general and large companies in particular benefitting from different forms of slavery, racism and prejudice against blacks and other minorities and from the ‘democratization’ of injustice-social inequality in the South and in the North?

• What decolonial and Afro-Diasporic voices and perspectives have been denied and appropriated by predominantly Eurocentric MOS? How can MOS researchers change these dynamics?

• What decolonial and Afro-Diasporic initiatives in MOS, in education and in research, have been helping to transform the contradictory realities of peripheral societies in the Global South?

• How do large companies, governmental organizations, and third sector organizations respond to criticism of the involvement and complicity of ‘organizations’ of global capitalism in the dynamics of recolonization via slavery, forced labor or human trafficking?

• What is the role of the different actors of heritage tourism in the dynamics of the dismantling and rearticulation of the dominant narratives about the colonial period in historical tourist developments? (Buzinde, 2010).

• What are the biggest challenges to combat slave labor in countries of the South and North marked by the continuous rearticulation of the hegemony of slave capitalism?

• What are the remnants of black slavery in corporate changes and resistance practices linked to the concepts of diversity and inclusion in organizations, universities and business schools?

• To what extent does the continuation of the period of slavery in modern capitalism influence and challenge contemporary labor relations in organizations?

• What is the role of predominantly Eurocentric Critical Accounting in the analysis of the processes of legitimization of black slavery from decolonial and Afro-diasporic perspectives? (Silva, 2014).

• What is the role of the large companies and economic sectors that benefit most from the black slavery regime and in the maintenance of systems of domination and patriarchal and racial stratification inside and outside academic organizations and institutions? (Nkomo, 1992).

We hope that this call for papers promotes dialogues with other movements, inside and outside the Management and Organizational Studies, engaged with transformations of decolonial and Afro-Diasporic perspectives in and for a pluriversal world in which different worlds coexist. We expect the participation of academics, professionals and ‘general public’ to recover and co-construct possibilities that continue to be denied and appropriated-contained by systems that reaffirm coloniality via black slavery.

Keywords: Decoloniality. Afro-Diasporic perspective in Management and Organizational Studies. Remnants of black slavery in management practices and organizational environments. Contemporary slavery.

1 lightening of the skin (Ribeiro, 1995).

Em Portugues

Abdalla, M. M., & Faria, A. (2017). Em defesa da opção decolonial em administração/gestão. Cadernos EBAPE.BR, 15(4), 914-929.

Bales, K. (2005). Understanding global slavery: A reader. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

Baptist, E. E. (2016). The half has never been told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Bento, M. A. S. (2002). Pactos narcísicos no racismo: branquitude e poder nas organizações empresariais e no poder público (Doctoral Dissertation). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP. Retrieved from

Bernardino-Costa, J., Maldonado-Torres, N., & Grosfoguel, R. (2018). Decolonialidade e pensamento afrodiaspórico. Belo Horizonte, MG: Autêntica Editora.

Buzinde, C. N. (2010). Discursive constructions of the plantation past within a travel guidebook. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 5(3), 219-235.

Caruana, R., Crane, A., Gold, S., & LeBaron, G. (2020). Modern slavery in business: the sad and sorry state of a non-field. Business & Society.

Cooke, B. (2003). The denial of slavery in management studies. Journal of Management Studies, 40(8), 1895-1918.

Cox, T. H., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing cultural diversity: implications for organizational competitiveness. Executive, 5(3), 45-56.

Crane, A. (2013). Modern Slavery as a Management Practice: Exploring the Conditions and Capabilities for Human Exploitation. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), 49-69.

Davis, A. Y. (2011). Women, race, & class. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Fernandes, F. (2008). A Integração do Negro na Sociedade de Classes (volume 1) – O legado da raça branca (5a ed.). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Globo.

Ferraro, M. R. (2019). Capitalism, slavery and the making of Brazilian slaveholding class: Debate on world-system perspective. Almanack, 23, 151-175.

Godfrey, P. C., Hassard, J., O’Connor, E. S., Rowlinson, M., & Ruef, M. (2016). What is organizational history? Toward a creative synthesis of history and organization studies. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), 590-608.

Gold, S., Trautrims, A., & Trodd, Z. (2015). Modern slavery challenges to supply chain management. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 20(5), 485-494

Gomes, M. A. A. F. (1990). Escravismo e cidade: notas sobre a ocupação da periferia de Salvador no século XIX. RUA. Revista de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, 3(4/5), 9-19.

Gonzalez, L. (2020). Por um feminismo afro-latino-americano. São Paulo, SP: Editora Schwarcz-Companhia das Letras.

Ibarra-Colado, E. (2006). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463-488.

International Labour Organisation. (2012). ILO global estimate of forced labour: Results and methodology. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office.

Jaime, P., Barreto, P., & Oliveira, C. (2018). Lest we forget! Presentation of the Special Issue “Racial dimensions in the corporate world”. Organizações & Sociedade, 25(87), 542-550.

Kara, S. (2017). Modern slavery: A global perspective. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Machado, C., Jr. Bazanini, R., & Mantovani, D. M. N. (2018). The myth of racial democracy in the labour market: a critical analysis of the participation of afro-descendants in brazilian companies. Organizações & Sociedade, 25(87), 632-655.

Marable, M. (2015). How capitalism underdeveloped Black America: Problems in race, political economy, and society. Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books.

Michailova, S. (2020). 21 Is Irresponsible Business Immune to COVID-19? The Case of Modern Slavery. In M. A. Marinov, & S. T. Marinova (Eds.), Covid-19 and International Business: Change of Era. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Mignolo, W. D. (2020). A Geopolítica do Conhecimento e a Diferença Colonial. Revista Lusófona de Educação, 48, 187-224.

Nascimento, A. (1978). O Genocidio do Negro Brasileiro: Processo de um Racismo Mascarado (Vol. 60). São Paulo, SP: Editora Paz e Terra.

New, S. J. (2015). Modern slavery and the supply chain: the limits of corporate social responsibility?. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 20(6), 697-707.

Nkomo, S. M. (1992). The emperor has no clothes: Rewriting “race in organizations”. Academy of Management Review, 17(3), 487-513.

Paim, A. S., & Pereira, M. E. (2018). Judging good appearance in personnel selection. Organizações & Sociedade, 25(87), 656-675.

Phung, K. & Crane, A. (2018). ‘The business of modern slavery: Management and organizational perspectives’. In J. Clark, & S. Poucki (Eds.), The Sage handbook of human trafficking and modern day slavery (pp. 177-197). London, UK: Sage.

Quijano, A. (1993). América Latina en la coyuntura mundial. Problemas Del Desarrollo, 95, 43-59.

Quijano, A. (2000). Coloniality of power and Eurocentrism in Latin America. International Sociology, 15(2), 215-232.

Ribeiro, D. (1995). O povo brasileiro – A formação e o sentido do Brasil. São Paulo, SP: Global Editora.

Robinson, C. (2000). Black Marxism: The making of the Black radical tradition. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press.

Rosa, A. R. (2014). Relações raciais e estudos organizacionais no Brasil. RAC, 18(3), 240-260.

Sansone, L. (1996). Nem somente preto ou negro: O sistema de classificação racial no Brasil que muda. Afro-Ásia, 8, 165-187.

Santos, M. S. (2008). The repressed memory of Brazilian slavery. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 11(2), 157-175.

Santos, Y. L. (2013). Tornar-se corte: Trabalho escravo e espaço urbano no Rio de Janeiro. Revista de História Comparada, 7(1), 262-292.

Santos, Y. L. (2016). Escravidão urbana como cenário? Um exame crítico sobre a historiografia da escravidão urbana no Rio de Janeiro e Havana. Revista Landa, 5(1), 500-531.

Silva, A. R. (2014). Slavery Service Accounting Practices in Brazil: A Bibliographic and Document Analysis. Revista Contabilidade & Finanças, 25(spe.), 346-354.

Silva, A. R., Vasconcelos, A., & Lira, T. A. (2021). Inscrições contábeis para o exercício do poder organizacional: O caso do fundo de emancipação de escravos no Brasil. RAE-Revista De Administração De Empresas, 61(1), 1-14.

Souza, J. (2017). A elite do atraso: da escravidão à Lava Jato. Lisboa, Portugal: Leya.

Stoler, A. L. (2017). Introduction: The dark logic of invasive others. Social Research: An International Quarterly, 84(1), 3-5.

Voss, H., Davis, M., Sumner, M., Waite, L., Ras, I. A., Singhal, D. I. V. Y. A., … Jog, D. (2019). International supply chains: compliance and engagement with the Modern Slavery Act. Journal of the British Academy, 7(s1), 61-76.

Wynter, S. (2003). Unsettling the coloniality of being/power/truth/freedom: Towards the human, after man, its overrepresentation—An argument. CR: The new centennial review, 3(3), 257-337.

Register now: Organising for Liberation Weekender, 15-16 June 2019 #org4lib #barcworkshop

15-16 June 2019 – REGISTER HERE

9.30am-5pm, Saturday 15 June – Sunday 16 June 2019
Carnegie Hall, Leeds Beckett University, Headlingley Campus

Co-hosted by BARC and Prof Shirley Anne Tate of the Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University.

Decolonising work within higher education has been gaining profile and momentum in both national and international universities.

But the discussion can often be confined to the re-working of course curricula which, whilst valuable, leaves unchallenged other important ways in which the learning environment are structured by the privileged norms of whiteness. Moreover, this approach can mean the decolonising project falls foul of becoming a tick-box audit exercise.

Over the course of this two day workshop, we invite participants to engage with us in re-imagining the classroom as a broader set of embodied relations and dynamics that have the power to perpetuate or to disrupt racism:

What is an anti-racist space? We will reflect deeply on this simple yet provocative question as we move forward in our work that develops the theoretical tools for our times that can be used to dismantle white supremacy in the classroom.

We build on Tate and Bagguley’s (2017) conceptualisation of the anti-racist university as a ‘contact zone’ where different people and ideas might be brought together in non-hierarchical relations to (re)form one another. We ask:

  • What does an anti-racist classroom look like? What does it feel like?
  • Who is understood to be a ‘good’ student, and how do they transform over the course of their degrees?
  • What alternative philosophies can we draw on to envisage and embody anti-racist spaces, practices, and relations to one another?
  • Do we have the language to imagine it, construct it, demand it?
We will work with an artistic, participative methodology to develop a programme of activity that promotes reflexive thinking, discussion, and community-building.

Fees: We propose, for those who are able to access funds, an optional sliding scale solidarity fee (£20, £40 or £60) which will be used subsidise costs – please email us at to let us know you would like to contribute and we will send you details.

Participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation but we do have a limited number of £50 bursaries available for attendees from NARTI institutions (see below). To apply for a bursary please email Joanne Garrick.

Daytime meals are included (Saturday: Breakfast, lunch; Sunday: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea). On Saturday night we will plan to go out somewhere for dinner together.

Spaces are limited to 30 participants. The event is sponsored by the Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI) and thus targeted at business and management staff and students from NARTI institutions, but all scholars and students involved in decolonising and anti-racist work are encouraged to apply.

NARTI institutions: Keele University, Durham University, University of Hull, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds University, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, University of Huddersfield, University of Manchester, York Management School, Lancaster University, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield University, University of Salford, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Lincoln. 

We aim to make this event as accessible as possible; please contact us with any accessibility needs that would support or enable your participation. 

To register for the event, please click here.

Follow updates on Twitter: @CollectiveBARC #org4lib #barcworkshop

Thank you and we hope to see you there!