Benjamin N. Lawrance holds the Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology. A graduate of Stanford University and University College London, his research interests include comparative and contemporary slavery, child trafficking, cuisine and globalization, human rights, and asylum.
Professor Lawrance is currently writing a history of West African child trafficking spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. He has published three books, and a fourth, on historical and contemporary trafficking in women and children in Africa, is shortly forthcoming with Ohio University Press. His essays appear in the Seattle Journal of Social Justice, the International Labor and Working Class History, Food & Foodways, the Journal of African History, African Economic History, Anthropological Quarterly, Cahiers d'Études Africaines, and the African Studies Review, among others.
Professor Lawrance is a legal consultant on the contemporary political, social and cultural climate in West Africa. He has served as an expert witness for over one hundred and thirty asylum claims of West Africans in the U.S., Canada, the U.K, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Israel, and his opinions have featured in appellate rulings in the U.S. and the U.K.
Professor Lawrance is the recipient of several national and international awards, including a 2011-12 faculty development fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and fellowships at Yale, Harvard, the University of Notre Dame, the Rotary Foundation, and the inaugural University of California President's Fellowship in the Humanities.
Cass is the coordinator of the Conable Conference. Cass has been employed at RIT for 22 years holding various positions all within the College of Liberal Arts. For the past eleven years she has served as the Administrative Assistant to the CLA Endowed Chairs. Since being employed at RIT she has earned a B.S. in Applied Arts & Sciences and an M.S. in Human Resource Development. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Autism Council of Rochester.
CLA Office of Endowed Chairs
Eastman Bldg., Room 2158
Saabirah is the assistant coordinator of the Conable Conference. She is an Hospitality, Tourism, and Service Management major.