Over a four-hundred-year period, approximately twelve million Africans were enslaved, traded, and transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Enslaved Africans lived, labored, and died in various regions of the Atlantic world, from Brazil to Barbados, South Carolina to St. Domingue. In this course, students will explore how slavery developed in one region of the Atlantic world, a small group of British colonies that would become the United States of America. We will delve into the history of slavery and emancipation in the United States by interrogating a variety of sources, from slave narratives to the American Constitution. Students will examine how slavery as an American economic, legal, and social institution evolved. By the end of the semester, students will have a strong understanding of not only the history of American slavery, but also how the vestiges of slavery influence contemporary American society.
There will be a mid-term exam, a final exam, a take-home writing assignment (5-7 pages), and occasional quizzes on course readings. Students will be expected to complete approximately 100 pages of reading per week.