This course provides a comparative approach to the long history of slavery in the Atlantic World and the struggle against the institution and its legacies up to the present day. We will consider the role of slavery in the development of an international system of capitalist exchange, as well as the impact on the lives of those caught within its bonds. Though comparisons will be made with the United States, the emphasis will be on Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than 10 million Africans were sold into slavery. How did this come to be? What brought slavery to its legal end, and how does the history of slavery continue to impact the way that race structures lives today throughout the region? Topics include the origins of “race” and racism, slavery in Africa, Indian slavery, the Middle Passage, African cultures in the Americas, resistance and rebellion, the Haitian Revolution, antislavery and antiracism during the Latin American independence wars, the transition to freedom, commemoration, and the transnational debate over rights and reparations in the present day.
Elena Schneider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History.