In conjunction with 21st Century Coolies Conference moderated by Professor of Law Leticia Saucedo.
Migrant workers around the world are subject to exploitative labor practices due to their dependence on employment contracts that give employers extraordinary bargaining power. The term “21st Century Coolie” harkens back to the labor arrangements of earlier centuries that involved conscripted labor, indentured servitude and contract labor across national borders. Like those of past centuries, today’s “coolies” are subject to legal constraints inside and outside the employment relationship that force them into subjugated positions within the workplace. This symposium, which brings together interdisciplinary scholars and activists together, seeks to explore the contours of the “coolie” experience in the 21st century to uncover its racialized as well as gendered nature, and the role of governments in perpetuating the coolie system.