Slavery and Plantation Societies in Latin America
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
12 October 2023
Requisites for this module
This module will focus on the different plantation societies that were established in Brazil, British Jamaica, the French Caribbean (mainly 'Saint-Domingue', that is, present-day Haiti) and the Spanish colonies (Venezuela and Cuba).
The module will examine how local conditions (environment and geopolitics) and external factors (such as the demands on the world market, religion, law and customs of the colonial power, and the African cultural backgrounds of the slaves) combined to shape the characteristics of every slave society.
The aims of this module are:
- To introduce a range of historiographical and conceptual approaches to the study of Latin American and Caribbean Slavery, ca. 1500-1888.
- To promote a deep understanding of significance of slavery to Latin American and global history.
- To encourage wider understanding of and facilitate engagement with the various types of primary sources relating to this topic.
- To develop research and writing skills.
No information available.
The great majority of the 12 million enslaved Africans deported to the Americas during the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries ended up working on plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean. Sugar, cacao, indigo, tobacco, cotton and coffee were the main commodities slaves produced for the rapidly expanding European markets. But slavery did not only provide crucial inputs for developing capitalism, it also entered cultural representations of the other. Enlightened writers reflected about its legitimacy or the fundamental differences between what was increasingly perceived as 'races'. Hence slavery in the Americas contributed in many ways to the making of the modern world.
Introductory lectures on each colony will be followed by comparative sessions dealing with slave-holding elites and social structure more generally, slave women and the slave family, as well as the religion and culture of the enslaved. In the last sessions we will look at runaways, plots, and rebellions and other means whereby slaves sought to obtain freedom. The work in class will mainly deal with documents written by travellers, priests, and government officials and, more exceptionally, by overseers and the enslaved themselves. The discussion of these primary sources will allow us to gain new insights into the everyday reality of slavery.
- Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery (2010).
- Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex (1998).
- Eltis and Engermann, The Cambridge World History of Slavery, vol. 3 (2011).
- Klein and Luna, Slavery in Brazil (2010).
This module will be delivered via:
- One 1-hour lecture per week.
- One 1-hour seminar per week.
Blackburn, R. (2011) The American crucible: slavery, emancipation and human rights
. London: Verso. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1533281
Equiano, O. and Edwards, P. (1996) ‘An Eyewitness Account of an African captured by Slave Raiders’, in Equiano’s travels: the interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African
. Oxford: Heinemann, pp. 16, 18, 21–23. Available at: https://login.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/books/equianos-travels/docview/2138580178/se-2?accountid=10766
Phillips, W.D. (1991) ‘The Old World background of slavery in the Americas’, in Slavery and the rise of the Atlantic system
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 43–61. Available at: https://www-cambridge-org.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/core/books/slavery-and-the-rise-of-the-atlantic-system/B28912A91618EC559546B4C6E08C73C3
Thornton, J.K. (1998) Africa and Africans in the making of the Atlantic world, 1400-1800
. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/africa-and-africans-in-the-making-of-the-atlantic-world-14001800/7454C6576723129F517E68BBF164E1F1
Inikori, J.E. and Engerman, S.L. (1992) The Atlantic slave trade: effects on economies, societies, and peoples in Africa, the Americas, and Europe
. Durham: Duke University Press. Available at: https://doi-org.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/10.2307/j.ctv1220pd1
Schwartz, S.B. (1977) ‘Resistance and Accommodation in Eighteenth-Century Brazil: The Slaves’ View of Slavery’, The Hispanic American Historical Review
, 57(1), pp. 69–81. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2307/2513543
Schwartz, S.B. (1985) Sugar plantations in the formation of Brazilian society: Bahia, 1550-1835
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511665271
Mattoso, K.M. de Q. (1986) To be a slave in Brazil, 1550-1888. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
Fragoso, J. and Rios, A. (2011) ‘Slavery and Politics in Colonial Portuguese America: The 16th to the 18th centuries’, in The Cambridge world history of slavery: Volume 3: AD 1420-AD 1804
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 350–377. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521840682.016
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Primary source analysis (1000 words)
||Essay (2000 words)
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Olivia Arigho Stiles, email: email@example.com.
History UG Administrators: firstname.lastname@example.org
No external examiner information available for this module.
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Of 20 hours, 17 (85%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
3 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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