Syllabus

Download syllabus

FWIS 167 – THE RISE AND FALL OF ATLANTIC SLAVERY
Rice University

Ben Wright | Spring, 2013
bgw1@rice.edu | Wednesdays 1pm – 4pm
832-887-6419 | Wiess College 146

Course Description
This writing-intensive course will use tools in the digital humanities to explore the rise and fall of Atlantic slavery through a transnational study of the Atlantic World, beginning with the fifteenth-century European incursions into Africa and culminating in the nineteenth-century abolition movements. Students will learn to study the past in terms beyond the boundaries of nation-states. The practice of slavery transformed Africa, Europe, and the Americas. We live with the aftershocks of this institution today, and students will be encouraged to understand the global present as the legacy of a global past. Interspersed throughout the semester, we will focus on five key writing skills, including mastery of grammar, concision, argument, structure, and, most importantly, rewriting. Through a series of structured, progressive writing assignments, the students will work with digital technologies to conduct research, improve their writing, and present their work by constructing a collaborative website.

Throughout the semester, we will create a WordPress website. You may access our course site here at https://riseandfallofslavery.wordpress.com/.

Grading
Assignments
Participation 5%
Weekly blog 10%
Blog comments 5%
Timeline 15%
Online Archive 15%
Wikipedia Historiography 10%
Modern Slavery Reflection 10%
Final Paper 25%
Peer edits 5%

Grading Scale
100-93 A
92- 90 A-
89-88 B+
87-83 B
82-80 B-
79-78 C+
77-73 C
72-70 C-
69-60 D

Readings
Most of our readings will be available online through the library website. You may use the hyperlinks provided in this syllabus on any computer that is logged into Fondren. You will only need to purchase three books. Please order them online as soon as possible.

– David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
– Kevin Bales, Disposable Peoples: New Slavery in the Global Economy (Berkeley: University Press of California, 2004).
– Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution (New York: Harper Collins, 2006).

All other readings will be available online or in course readings binders. Two copies of the course readings binders will be available, one in the History Department Office, on the third floor of the Humanities Building and another at course reserves desk in Fondren Library.

Please bring the week’s readings to class, so we can refer to them together. Also feel free to bring newspaper or magazine stories about slavery that inspire questions or comments that require cultural or historical framing.

A Note on Disabilities
Any student with a disability requiring accommodations in this course is encouraged to contact me after class or during office hours. Additionally, students also need to contact Disability Support Services in the Allen Center Room 111.

Honor Code
Rice University’s Honor Code applies on all assignments. You are not forced, however, to work in isolation. In fact, I encourage you to share ideas with one another, and critique drafts of classmates’ work. Your final drafts, though, must be your own work, not the work of your classmates or copied from another source.

Learning Goals – students will
– understand the role of writing and communication in the learning process and in academic life.
– analyze, synthesize, organize, and respond to college level materials
– communicate correctly and effectively in writing and in speech
– understand writing as a process
– learn to use the work of others and to offer proper citation
– articulate oral arguments and respond to the arguments of others in discussions and presentations

Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication
Students are highly encouraged to make appointments with the consultants at the Center (Fondren Library, second floor). These consultants provide feedback on organization, argument coherence, style, and grammar. You can make an appointment at cwovc.rice.edu.

Summary of Assignments

Participation
Students are expected to arrive to every class on time. Absences will not be tolerated unless a student has made prior arrangements with the instructor. This is a discussion-based seminar and accordingly is dependent upon all of us coming prepared to share our ideas and to respond constructively to one another.

Discussions
Rather than having the instructor dictate the topics of discussion, this course will focus on the issues that are most important to you. In order to do so, each student will post a weekly blog entry, no later than midnight before class. These 100-200 word posts should demonstrate that you have read and reflected on the reading material. Each student will also be required to write at least one comment on at least two other posts. Comments which do not show the respect expected in a learning community will be taken down from the website and credit will not be given. We will begin each week with a discussion of your posts and comments so come prepared to discuss your ideas. Other historians at Rice and elsewhere will also read our website and contribute to our discussion.

Subtopics
Each student will select their own subtopic from the following list. Students cannot share a subtopic. The remaining assignments will require students to focus on their subtopic.
Religion
Women and Gender
Slave Resistance
Slave Life
Law
Economics
Diplomacy and War
Environment and Medicine
Slavery Debates
Literature and Print Culture
Technology and Science
Children and Family
Middle Passage
Native Americans
Racial Ideology

Timeline
We will create a digital timeline on the rise and fall of Atlantic slavery using JS Timeline. Each student will be responsible for creating 15 timeline entries related to their subtopic. Each entry will include a brief 1-3 sentence description of the event and its significance.

Archive
Using a Tumblr account, each student will create an archive of at least 6 primary sources related to their subtopic. Each document will be accompanied by a brief, 100-150 word description.

Wikipedia Historiography
Using the “View History” function of Wikipedia, students will write a 500-700 word historiography of a Wikipedia page relevant to their subtopic.

Modern Slavery
After reading Kevin Bales’s Disposable Peoples: New Slavery in the Global Economy (Berkeley: 2004), students will write a 500-700 word paper connecting their subtopic to modern slavery.

Final Paper
Students will write a 2,000-2,500 word paper that answers a historical question related to their subtopic by using the sources they identified in their archive.

Course Schedule

Wed 1/9: INTRODUCTION
• Syllabus

Wed 1/16: TRADITIONS OF SLAVERY
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 27-47
• Mungo Park, et al, “The Slave Trade Within Africa,” in David Northrup, ed. The Atlantic Slave Trade, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. pp. 31-63.
Five timeline entries Due 1/20 midnight

Wed 1/23: RACE AND RACISM
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 48-76.
• Smith, Mark. How Race is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. pp. 11-28.
Two archive items Due 1/27 midnight

Wed 1/30: ORIGINS OF THE SLAVE TRADE
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, 77-102.
• Eric Williams, “Economics, Not Racism as the Root of Slavery,” in David Northrup, ed. The Atlantic Slave Trade, Second Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), pp. 2-7.

WED 2/6: SLAVERY IN THE CARIBBEAN AND BRAZIL
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 103-123.
• Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, “Slavery and Iberian Colonization,” in Slavery, Freedom, and Abolition in Latin America and the Atlantic World (Albequerque: New Mexico University Press, 2011), pp. 9-47.
• Thomas Gage’s Travels in the New World. Eric S. Thompson, ed. (Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press), pp. 215-219.
Wikipedia history Due 2/10 midnight

Wed 2/13: SLAVERY IN NORTH AMERICA
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 124-140.
• Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. (begin)
Five timeline entries Due 2/17 midnight

Wed 2/20: SLAVERY AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 141-156.
• Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. (finish)
Two archive items Due 2/24 midnight

* SPRING BREAK *

Wed 3/6: MODERN SLAVERY
• Bales, Kevin. Disposable Peoples: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Berkeley: University Press of California, 2004. Excerpts.
Modern slavery essay Due 3/10 midnight
Modern slavery presentation in class

Wed 3/13: HAITIAN REVOLUTION
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 157-174.
Five timeline entries Due 3/17 midnight

Wed 3/20: BRITISH AND AMERICAN ANTISLAVERY
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 231-267.
Two archive items Due 3/24 midnight

Wed 3/27: SLAVE RESISTANCE IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTION
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, 205-230.
• Reis, João José. Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. pp. 40-69
Research question Due 3/27 in class

Wed 4/3: COLONIZATIONIST MOVEMENTS
• Schama, Simon. Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution. London: BBC Books, 2005. Part Two. pp. 255-383.
Final paper outline Due 4/7 midnight

Wed 4/10: NINETEENTH CENTURY SLAVE LIFE
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 193-204.
• Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Chapters 1-10.
Final paper rough draft Due 4/14 midnight

Wed 4/17: EMANCIPATIONS
• Davis, Inhuman Bondage, pp. 297-331.
• Helg, Aline. “Abolition and Afro-Latin Americans.” in Thomas H. Holloway, ed. A Companion to Latin American History. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008, pp. 247-263
Final paper peer edit Due 4/19 midnight

FINAL PAPER Due 5/1 5pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: