USD Professor Writes Book on Modern Day Slavery

Will speak at Warwick's Book Store of April 13th

SAN DIEGO, CA: Dr. Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, professor at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, has written a book detailing modern day slavery in India. What Slaveholders Think (2017, Columbia University Press) asks how contemporary slaveholders rationalize the subjugation of other human beings, and how they respond when their power is threatened. 


The book comes from a decade and a half in the anti-slavery movement as well as conversations in rural India with more than three hundred people, especially perpetrators and their victims. Over these same fifteen years international donors have spent more than a billion dollars on antislavery efforts. Nevertheless, the practice persists. 

Understanding what slaveholders think about emancipation is critical for scholars and policy makers who want to understand the broader context, especially as seen by the powerful. Insight into those moments when the powerful either double down or back off provides a sobering counterbalance to scholarship on popular struggle.

Big changes hit the powerful and the powerless alike. This means the once-powerful may find privilege from the old order isn’t of much value in the new. This is a shock and disappointment—when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Choi-Fitzpatrick believes that the lessons learned in India apply more broadly. “Big changes are shocking to people, especially if these changes involve a decline in prestige or power!” He notes that “the sense that some people deserve their lot in life is a kind of paternalism, and it can be found as readily in rural America as in rural India.”

Exploring what slaveholders think is important if we want to end trafficking and slavery—but it’s also important if we want to understand our own lives. Globalization has brought massive changes in huge industries and in humble homes—how slaveholders respond to these changes and how we ourselves respond will shape social, economic and political relations for the twenty-first century. These observations are inline with Choi-Fitzpatrick’s broader focus on issues at the intersection of politics, culture, technology, and social change.


Choi-Fitzpatrick will read from the book and take questions at a Warwick’s book event on April 13th. Click here for more information.

Choi-Fitzpatrick is donating all proceeds from What Slaveholders Think to Free the Slaves and Anti-Slavery International. For information on book events, or to follow or @achoifitz

To order the book, please click here. 30% discount if you use Cup30 discount code on checkout.

Listen to Choi-Fitzpatrick talk about his book here.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.