Slave Societies in the Americas

History 103E.002

Fall 2007
Instructor (text): 
123 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Mon 2-4
Also listed as 103D.011

What system of morals and beliefs, what societies, permitted one group of humans to own another? Using primary and secondary sources from the United States, Latin America and the larger Atlantic World, this course explores the lives of slaves as they made the middle passage, were sold in markets, labored, created families and communities, revolted and escaped, or consented to their situation. The course makes comparisons that are temporal, transnational, and cross-cultural. Since most (but not all) slave owners were lighter skinned than their slaves, race is a necessary component. Students will pay special attention to the ways historical subjects formed systems of values that seemed sensible within their communities and nations, but are difficult to imagine today. Slave and owner narratives, for example, give clues to how slavery bound two peoples together in a relationship of negotiation but with vastly unequal power.