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Slavery and Emancipation

  • Module code: PO5007
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of level 4 Politics or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module will introduce students to the controversies and debates over slavery and other forms of violence committed against groups of people in the modern world and their responses seeking emancipation. Beginning in 1492 with the development of a modern racism, it looks at the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the subsequent development of US Slavery, and the struggles of African Americans into the twentieth century. These cases will be revisited from the perspective of gender, and compared to other forms of structural oppression of colonised peoples and workers.

The module will consider the challenges in identifying the standpoint of the oppressed and study examples of how ‘subaltern' oppressed groups enter politics.   There are case studies of different historical and contemporary movements for emancipation, exploring some of their key debates and the challenges of constructing unity whilst respecting diversity. The module as a whole will encourage the critical analysis and assessment of the various interpretations that have been put forward and facilitate the development of students' research skills, ability to work together and communicate your ideas.

Aims

  • To introduce students to the controversies and debates over the issue of slavery and extreme violence in the making of the modern world and to critically analyse and assess the various interpretations that have been put forward;
  • To make students aware of the social, economic, political, gendered and cultural aspects of violence and oppression up to the present day
  • To enable students to analyse and evaluate emancipatory movements in the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Civil Rights, which have sought to overcome this legacy
  • To engage students with theories of difference in oppression, and evaluate the challenges of unity and diversity in emancipation.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

  • evaluate the debates, both among contemporaries and by historians, over the issue of slavery and extreme violence in the making of the modern world
  • analyse racism and slavery from a variety of social, economic, political, gendered and cultural perspectives
  • explore the longer-term consequences for victim groups and their descendants up to the present
  • identify differential experiences of gender, class and national oppression in shaping social and political engagement
  • critically evaluate debates on diversity and unity in emancipatory movements
  • research relevant topics using secondary sources and limited primary sources, and convey their analysis and findings

Curriculum content

Weeks 1-12  African Slavery in the US and the Americas  

  • Empire, colony and the origins of slavery in the Americas 
  • Slavery in 19th century US: debates among historians
  • Abolitionism and the American Civil War
  • Emancipation? -Post-slavery racism 1865-1950;
  • World Wars, economic migrations and cultural developments;
  • Civil Rights and the Black Power movements

Weeks 13-23: Structural Oppression and Emancipatory Movements

  • What is it to experience oppression?  Narratives of African American women, Indian cotton producers and Irish immigrant workers
  • Emancipatory movements for self-determination: national liberation against colonialism in Africa
  • Contemporary debates: Lesbian and Gay Liberation, Feminism, Labour segmentation:, ‘intersectionality'.

Teaching and learning strategy

The teaching and learning strategy is based on an integrated lecture and seminar programme, and the use by students individually and in groups of Study Space.

Every Week Lecture Workshops will be in interactive and will provide different learning spaces within the two hour envelope.  Each topic will be planned around a cycle of introduction, consolidation, further elaboration, development or debate, then review.

An introductory phase will provide an overview of the relevant material, mapping out the terrain and identifying key issues and problems. The introductions  will be supported by small group exercises , which will provide students with an opportunity to o consolidate your  understanding of the lectures and to clarify issues, raise questions and engage in a critical dialogue with yourtutor and peers.

Theoretical interpretations of slavery and of the different cases studied are contested. Students will be encouraged to engage in debates with each other , to consider different arguments, and to learn how to respond to criticism from sometimes diametrically opposed perspectives. In order to do so, students will need to synthesise information from a variety of sources, some in print form, some electronic, some audio-visual. Much of this will be directed but you will also be invited to search for material and report critically on what you have found. In the second teaching block students will be encouraged to draw on literature, film and other cultural representations of the experience of oppressed groups.

Third Week Seminars will be skills developing workshops. Students will be encouraged to bring to each seminar the notes you have taken on what they have read or watched or listened to. This will help students to  prepare for your formative and your second, summative assignments.

Students are strongly encouraged to plan the use of Office Hours when your lecturers are available to meet with you either one to one, or in small group tutorials as preferred. Students should book a tutorial session every third week and bring your formative work (e.g. a reading note, critical bibliography, essay plan)  for discussion and immediate feedback.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture Workshops 22 weeks x 2 hours Seminars 7 weeks x 1 hour 44 7
Guided independent study 249
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The strategy is designed to stimulate students to explore different forms of knowledge about history and politics ‘from below' as well as ‘from above'. Students engage with both historical and political concepts, respectively applying them to research topics that they have a particular interest in. Assessments are led by two projects concentrating on the relevant theoretical debates, supplemented by one that emphasises empathetic writing of history.  

The formative assessment in TB1 is designed for students to outline the interpretations of different historians on the topic, which you then proceed to synthesise in a final essay in which you can be more critical and evaluative.

The initial assessment in TB2 is to encourage students to explore the personal is political by articulating the experience of an oppressed group striving for emancipation. The formative work will encourage students to use literature and film to imagine or evoke a subjective experience. Building on the first assessment students will move to a related discussion of the movements their forms of collective articulation and struggle for emancipation.   

Formative Assessment

The seminars are designed to enable students to practice the appropriate study and critical thinking skills geared to completing your assessments. In the seminar, students will work individually and in small groups on questions and tasks that are designed to develop the writing skills of argument and critical analysis you need to complete your assessments. In TB1, for your first, formative assessment, students  will be required to produce individual reading worksheets which are then compiled as a critical bibliography. The review will involve a summary and critical evaluation of the approach adopted, the argument advanced and the evidence provided by the author.

At selected points in the year, and increasingly in TB2, students will introduce your investigation of specific case studies in seminars approaching the perspective of the actors involved. Some seminars will be devoted to producing essay plans for the synthetic essay, with feedback given by the tutor in class, to help students in preparing and evaluating your own work. 

Summative Assessment

In the first teaching block, the formative critical bibliography will be reworked as an Essay of 1,500 words.

In the second teaching block, there will be a portfolio consisting of two elements. The first element will be a (700 word) Short Paper seeking to make available a particular experience of oppression reconstructed as a piece of ‘imagined history'.

The second element will be a Synthetic Essay on the agency of actors in a range of emancipatory movements and their debates, with specific attention to themes of context, differential experiences, ‘intersectionality', unity and diversity (1,500 words). 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
evaluate the debates, both among contemporaries and by historians, over the issue of slavery and extreme violence in the making of the modern world Critical bibliography (formative) and Essay 1 (summative)
analyse racism and slavery from a variety of social, economic, political, gendered and cultural perspectives Critical bibliography (formative) and Essay 1 (summative)
explore the longer-term consequences for victim groups and their descendants up to the present Critical bibliography (formative) , Essay 1 and Short Paper (summative)
identify differential experiences of gender, class and national oppression in shaping social and political engagement Seminar introductions (formative) and Short Paper (summative)
critically evaluate debates on diversity and unity in emancipatory movements Seminar introductions (formative) and Short Paper (summative)
research relevant topics using secondary sources and limited primary sources, and convey their analysis and findings Essay 1, Short Paper and Synthetic Essay

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Synthetic Essay 40
CWK Portfolio with essay and short paper. 60
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Smith, M.(1998). Debating Slavery, Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South. Economic History Society.

Davis, Angela (2012) The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues City Lights Books

Bibliography recommended reading

Bandyopadhyay, S. (2008) Nationalist Movement in India: A Reader. Oxford UP

Baptist, E. (2014) The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Basic Books

Cafe,W. and Gavins, R. (2003).Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. New Press.

Chomsky, A. (2008) Linked Labor Histories Duke University Press

Duberman, M. (1989) Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past Penguin.

Fanon, F. (1986) Black Skins, White Masks Pluto

hooks, b.(1987) Ain't I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism Pluto

Lowery, Wesley (2017) They Can't Kill Us All: The Story of Black Lives Matter  Penguin

Moses, D. (ed.) (2009) Empire, Colony, Genocide - Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History. Berghahn. 

Sandoval, C. (2000) Methodology of the Oppressed University of Minnesota Press

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