2021 Speaker Biographies: Unfree

Amanda Bellows is historian of the United States in comparative and transnational perspective, with a focus on the United States and Russia. Her first book, American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination(University of North Carolina Press, 2020), compares representations of slavery and serfdom produced between 1861 and 1905. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Global SlaveryNovoe literaturnoe obozrenie, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, and the books Buying and Selling Civil War Memory in Gilded Age America(forthcoming), New York Times Disunion: A History of the Civil War and Disunion: Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider the Civil War from Lincoln's Election to the Emancipation Proclamation. (This text comes from her profile HERE. Click to read more about her academic background and teaching.)

Nyrola Elimä is a supply chain analyst who regularly collaborates with the Helena Kennedy Centre’s Forced Labour Lab at Sheffield Hallam University. As a consultant, she provides research on Chinese corporate structures, supply chain mapping, and ESG risk assessment to scholars, investment firms, and international media organizations. She studied Retail Management at Lund University, and her research is informed by having lived and studied in the Uyghur Region for 19 years and by working as a customs broker and in import/export in Shanghai, Beijing, and other inland cities. She conducts research in Chinese, Uyghur, English, and Swedish, and is a Python/R data analyst.  

Nyrola Elimä and co-presenter Laura Murphy recently released the report "In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Solar Supply Chains."

Christina Firpo is Professor of Southeast Asian History at California Polytechnic State University. She earned her PhD in Southeast Asian History at UCLA and she works at the intersection of Vietnamese history, women’s history, and the history of imperialism. Her publications include the books, Black Market Business: Selling Sex in Northern Vietnam, 1920-1945 (Cornell University Press, 2020) and The Uprooted: Race, Childhood, and Imperialism in Indochina, 1890-1980 (University of Hawai’i Press, 2017).

Bernard Freamon is professor of law emeritus at Seton Hall Law School and an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law. He possesses a B.A. degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University (1970), a J.D. degree from Rutgers University School of Law (Newark)(1974), an LL.M. degree From Columbia University in the City of New York (2002), and a J.S.D. degree in Islamic Legal History, also from Columbia (2007). 

He is the author of several books, articles, and book chapters on the topic of slavery in Islamic societies and Islamic law, including, Possessed by the Right Hand: The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures (Leiden: Brill, 2019), “Slavery and Society in East Africa, Oman and the Persian Gulf,” in What is a Slave Society? The Practice of Slavery in Global Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) (Noel Lenski and Catherine M. Cameron, eds.), and, “Straight, No Chaser: Slavery, Abolition and Modern Islamic Thought,” in Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012) (Robert W. Harms, Bernard K. Freamon and David W. Blight, eds.).

He has recently organized an initiative seeking to declare the abolition of slavery under Islamic law (see ijma-on-slavery.org) and remains engaged in additional academic research and writing projects.

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall is Professor at California State University – San Marcos, where she is a past winner of Harry E. Brakebill Outstanding Professor Award and the President’s Award for Innovation in Teaching. Sepinwall earned her Ph.D. in History from Stanford University; she teaches courses in world, Haitian, French and French colonial, and Jewish history. Her newest book, Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games is appearing in June from the University Press of Mississippi. Her past works include The Abbé Grégoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism (UC Press, now out in paperback) and Haitian History: New Perspectives (Routledge).

Alan Karras is Associate Director of International and Area Studies. In his more than twenty years at Berkeley, he has taught courses on world history, classical political economy, Caribbean history, and the history of transnational crime—among others. His research interests are in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, and global interactions more broadly, especially as they relate to transnational transgressions like smuggling, fraud, and corruption. He is the author of Smuggling: Corruption and Contraband in World History (2010), Sojourners in the Sun: Scots Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740-1800 (1993), and the coeditor, with John R. McNeill, of Atlantic American Societies: From Columbus through Abolition, 1492-1888 (1992). He also has co-edited a book, Encounters Old and New, with Laura Mitchell, that makes a case for historians to engage more with the public. He served as one of the editors for the forthcoming Cambridge Dictionary of World History and was on the board of editors for Cambridge University Press's multi-volume Cambridge World History.

Monica Ketchum earned an MA in History from California State University, Long Beach, an MA in Sociology from Arizona State University, and is doctoral candidate in college teaching and learning. She serves as the Division Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of History at Arizona Western College in Yuma, AZ, and is a part-time lecturer in history and women’s studies at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley and in sociology at Northern Arizona University-Yuma. She was the 2015-2016 recipient of the Yuma County Education Foundation Teacher of the Year Award and NISOD Teaching Excellence Award.

With a background in Latin American and British history, the subject of human trafficking throughout history has long been a research interest. She completed a Fulbright GPA in Central Asia in 2018 which sparked an interest in forced labor in Uzbekistan and is a 2020-2021 Engaging Eurasia Teaching Fellow at Harvard University.  Monica is part of a team of community college educators on an ACLS Digital Extension Grant to expand World History Commons, serves on the board of the Arizona Council for History Education, and is a member of the World History Association, American Historical Association, and Organization of American Historians. She is involved in several organizations dedicated to promoting access to education and raising awareness about human trafficking, including the Imperial Valley Unity Coalition, Soroptimist, and Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition.

Laura Murphy is Professor of Human Rights and Contemporary Slavery at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University. She is author of the forthcoming Freedomville: The Story of a 21st Century Slave Revolt (Columbia Global Reports) and The New Slave Narrative: The Battle over Representations of Contemporary Slavery (Columbia University Press, 2019) as well as academic articles on forced labour. She has consulted for the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Office of Victims of Crime. She has provided expert evidence briefs regarding the situation in the Uyghur Region for the U.K. and Australian governments. She spent significant time in the Uyghur region between 2004 and 2009. 

Laura Murphy and co-presenter Nyrola Elimä recently released the report "In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Solar Supply Chains."

Andrés Reséndez is a professor of history at the University of California, Davis.  His specialties are early European exploration and colonization of the Americas, the U.S-Mexico border region, and the early history of the Pacific Ocean.  His latest book, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and winner of the 2017 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University.  He teaches courses on food and history, Latin America, and Mexico.  More recently, he has been focusing on the "Columbian moment" in the Pacific, beginning with the first expedition that went from America to Asia and back (1564-1565), thus transforming the Pacific into a vital space of contact and exchange (Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery—forthcoming in September)