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The University of Southampton

HIST6097 Slavery in the Atlantic World

Module Overview

Explore the rise and fall of New World Slavery with specific reference to North America and the British Caribbean, engage critically with different historical interpretations of slavery and abolition and explore the legacy and modern resonances of transatlantic slavery.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The development of slave societies in the Americas
  • The structure of slave societies, including the importance of ideas about race, gender and social status
  • The experiences of enslaved people, including methods of resistance
  • The value of new theoretical approaches to slavery and abolition
  • The legacy of transatlantic slavery and its centrality to debates over ‘race’ and racism in modern British and American society
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate originality and confidence in the scholarly application of knowledge, and the ability to advance that knowledge through research informed by the work of others
  • Work independently and effectively, using library and internet resources
  • Contribute to original and intellectually challenging discussion in a group environment
  • Give effective oral presentations and listen and respond to the views of others
  • Demonstrate effective time management
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Carry out independent research based on primary and secondary sources
  • Use a range of search-engines (print and electronic) to gather evidence
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Make well-supported judgments about the value of different historical interpretations of transatlantic slavery
  • Engage critically with key texts
  • Demonstrate confidence and independence of thought
  • Formulate your own responses to complex material and be able to communicate them effectively in informal discussion and formal written work
  • Integrate close textual analysis and contextual research


Between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, over 11 million Africans were coerced into leaving their places of birth and underwent a forced migration to the Americas. Those who endured the trials of the Middle Passage were put to work on plantations, and their descendants born into slavery. This module will focus on the Atlantic slave trade, the development of slave systems in the Americas, life in slave societies, the ending of slavery and on the far-reaching consequences of this period of history. We will study the decision to begin using slaves, the ways in which slaveholders controlled slave societies and the ways in which slaves resisted slavery. We will also look at the creation of new identities and cultures amongst slaves in the Americas, at free people in slave societies and at the different experiences of men and women. The module also focuses on emancipation and the question of why Europeans began to oppose the system, as well as on the ways in which slavery has been remembered and represented in recent years.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Student-led seminars • Film and audio material (as appropriate) Learning activities include • Independent study and research • Active participation in seminars

Preparation for scheduled sessions130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Heuman, G. and Walvin, J. (2003). The Slavery Reader. 

Thornton, J. (1992). Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400 – 1800. 

Craton, M. (1983). Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies. 

Davis, David Brion (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. 

Genovese, E. (1975). Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World The Slaves Made. 

Kolchin, P. (1995). American Slavery. 

Da Costa, E. V. (1997). Crowns of Glory, Tears of Blood: The Demerara Slave Rebellion of 1823. 

Dubois, L. (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. 

Blackburn, R. (1997). The Making of New World Slavery. 

Blackburn, R (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery. 

Walvin, J. (1997). Questioning Slavery. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students might choose to buy books, but texts available in library

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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