Explores the making of American slavery from beginnings on the African coast to the plantations of the southern United States. Includes slave life, pro-slavery thought, slave management, representations of slavery then and now, abolitionism, and debates about slavery.
This course will explore the origins, expansion, and demise of slavery in colonial and 19th-century America. It will examine the experience of enslaved people, slaveholders, and nonslaveholders in different contexts, and examine the relationship between slavery and racism, national politics, the economy, the Civil War, and society more broadly. The course will also explore different approaches to studying slavery, including working with secondary sources produced by historians of slavery, and with primary sources produced by enslaved people, slaveholders, and others.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Depending upon the number of students enrolled, the course will be approximately 50% lecture and 50% discussion of readings, films, and other materials.
Interest in the topic and willingness to participate.
Class assignments and grading
Class assignments consist of participation (20%), a 5-7 page paper examining primary sources (25%), a midterm (25%), and a final (30%). The writing assignment can be modified for those who want to take the course for writing credit. The reading load will average about 100 pages per week.