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Semester 1

Slavery and Forced Labour in the British Atlantic World (HIST10488)







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Visiting students must have completed at least 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum academic entry requirements does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that 3rd year History courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any 3rd year History course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the History department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

The course will ask how early modern people defined, applied, and resisted coercion in labour relations in the British Atlantic world context. We will place transatlantic chattel slavery at the core of the course and also consider indigenous slavery, compulsory agrarian and domestic service, convict labour, indentured servitude, pauper apprenticeship, prostitution, and military and naval conscription. Students will learn the many ways in which historians approach the problem of forced labour.

Course Description

The first part of this course focuses on labour coercion in terms of belonging and exclusion in communities in the British Isles, West Africa, and Indigenous America. Particular focus will be on agrarian, domestic, and military labour. We will challenge the presiding impression that Europe was a place of liberty while Africa and America were places of slavery. The second part of the course focuses on the commodification of labour, especially in long-distance transportation, foregrounding the transatlantic and Indigenous slave trades. Students will learn how traders in captives used violence, displacement, broken kin ties, and imprisonment to establish slavery. Enslaved people's suffering, coping, resistance, and rebellion took as many various forms, making it impossible for enslavers to forget their victims' humanity. The third part of the course will consider the role of coerced laborers in the process of colonisation. Enslaved and forced labour altered natural environments as well as political systems. Work, from the construction of plantations to the overfishing of the sea, contributed to indigenous dispossession and further coercion of indigenous labour, and enabled and accelerated the rise of racial capitalism, with implications on all sides of the Atlantic rim. The course then ends at the Age of Revolutions, treating the role of labour coercion and resistance not only in political and social revolutions, but also in the industrial revolution and attendant environmental change.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 80%, Practical Exam 20%

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