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Benjamin N. Lawrance
Hon. Barber B. Conable, Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies
Benjamin N. Lawrance holds the Hon. 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, human trafficking, cuisine and globalization, human rights, refugee issues and asylum policies.
His new book, Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling (Yale 2014) examines West African child smuggling in the 19th century. His other books examine asylum, refugee issues, expert testimony, historical and contemporary trafficking in women and children in Africa. His essays appear in the Journal of African History, Biography, Slavery & Abolition, 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 two hundred and seventy asylum claims of West Africans in the U.S., Canada, the U.K, the Netherlands, Israel, and many other countries, and his opinions have featured in appellate rulings in the U.S. and the U.K. He volunteers as a country conditions expert for Amnesty International USA.
He is happy to engage with the press on matters related to Africa, particularly West Africa, trafficking, asylum, refugees, migration, public services, citizenship/nationality, and issues pertaining to children. Please contact the RIT Press Office directly. Examples of his recent press engagements include:
- An essay “Anti-Terror Rhetoric Misleads on Abductions,” in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 12, 2014
- An interview with Antonio Mora, “Consider This,” Al-Jazeera America, May 20, 2014
- An interview with Eve Conant, for her story “Nigeria's Schoolgirl Kidnappings Cast Light on Child Trafficking,” National Geographic, May 15, 2014
- An interview with Robert Siegel, on “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio, May 9, 2014
- An interview with Brent Bambury, on "Day 6," Canadian Broadcasting Company, May 8, 2014
- And an interview by Rick Gladstone, of the New York Times, for his story “Real Threat in a Known Market for Children,” New York Times May 7, 2014
Professor Lawrance is the recipient of several national and international awards, including a faculty 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.
CLA Office of Endowed Chairs Eastman Bldg., Room 2158 Tel: 585-475-2057 Fax: 585-475-5777 Email: cls3740[@]rit.edu
Cass is the coordinator of the Conable Conference. Cass has been employed at RIT for 24 years holding various positions all within the College of Liberal Arts. For the past thirteen years she has served as the Administrative Assistant to the CLA Endowed Chairs. Since being employed at RIT she has earned a BS 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.