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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephanie E Smallwood
HIST 358
Seattle Campus

Slavery in the Atlantic World

Comparative examination of slavery in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa from 1450-1800. Central concerns include: development of the Atlantic slave trade; diverse uses of slave labor in the Atlantic world; slave cultures that developed in the Americas; and ways Africans and African-Americans resisted their bondage.

Class description

This upper division lecture course examines the development of African slavery in the Atlantic basin, from its fifteenth-century beginnings through the nineteenth-century era of abolition. Our oceanic focus will allow us to take in the enormous breadth of slavery in the Atlantic basin. We will begin by following the earliest shipments of slaves between parts of the Atlantic African coast and to parts of western Europe in the fifteenth century. We will then consider the development of a transatlantic traffic carrying African slaves to Europe's American colonies beginning in the sixteenth century; and spend a good deal of time studying the American slave societies produced during the height of the transatlantic slave trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Finally, we will wind down by examining the "problem" of slavery in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century "age of revolution." Among the questions we will ask as we close out the course will be whether slavery and human trafficking were fully eradicated by nineteenth-century abolition?

Student learning goals

Students will a) be able to situate the more familiar narrative of U.S. racial slavery in the wider context of European overseas expansion and colonization in the Atlantic basin; b) understand how African slavery varied across space and over time in the Atlantic world

Students will hone their ability to identify and critique historical arguments

Students will continue to polish their expository writing skills

General method of instruction

Classroom time will include lectures and discussion -- therefore regular attendance, completing assigned readings on time, and active participation will be required

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites

Class assignments and grading

Students can expect reading assignments ranging from 75-150 pages per week; weekly 2pp response papers (credit/no credit); a graded paper assignment and two exams

Assignments and grading will be outlined in detail in the course syllabus.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Stephanie E Smallwood
Date: 06/10/2008