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Semester 1

Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (LAWS10185)







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**This course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.** Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. 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 department directly to request additional spaces. If there is sufficient space for other visiting students to enrol at the start of the semester, visiting students must have completed at least 3 Law courses at grade B or above to qualify for this course; we will only consider University/College level courses.

Course Summary

The course will examine the social and legal position of men and women, often of African or Indian origin, who were held enslaved in eighteenth-century Scotland. After consideration of the nature of slavery and other forms of coerced labour, it will explore the economic, imperial and social backgrounds, reflecting on Scottish participation in the British Empire. Comparisons will be drawn with other societies in which human beings are enslaved. The lives of enslaved individuals will be explored, as will those of those who claimed them as property. The legal ambiguities will be reflected on and examined. Students will acquire a knowledge of: the issues surrounding slavery; of the lives of enslaved individuals in Georgian Scotland; of the legal problems surrounding slavery; and of Scottish reactions to slavery, including the start of the abolitionist movement.

Course Description

The course will be taught over ten two-hour seminars.Indicative content will be as follows: 1. What is slavery? How do we define it? How does slavery relate to other forms of coerced labour? 2. Brief consideration of slavery in history. Ancient slavery; medieval slavery. Slavery in other parts of the world. 3. The rise of slavery and European Empires, including English Empire. Scots imperial ambitions in the seventeenth century. Scots in the British Empire. 4. Africans and Indians in Scotland: the evidence; their origin; their roles. 5. Scots law and coerced labour vagabond legislation etc. The law of servants and their changing social positions. 6. Scots law and questions of freedom: older cases, statutes and doctrinal writing. Comparisons with other European countries. 7. How individuals are effectively held as enslaved, and the mechanisms involved.- 8. How the Scottish courts treat individuals held as slaves. 9. The freedom cases: how the law was discussed and used. 10. The aftermath.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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