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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

History (HIST)

HIST 211 (GH;US;IL) (AF AM 211) Slavery and Freedom in the Black Atlantic (3) The course will explore the history and role of African and African-descent people in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

HIST (AF AM) 211 Slavery and Freedom in the Black Atlantic (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course focuses on the emergence of the Atlantic World Black Diaspora from the 15th through the 19th centuries with the United States as its central focus. We begin with a brief discussion of African societies at the beginning of the Transatlantic Slave trade, discussing the various ethnicities, cultures, societies, and states. We then discuss the emergence of the TST and its consequences for the forging of the modern world and its centrality to the rise of modern capitalism. The forced migration of over 10 million people of African descent resulted in a massive dispersal of various cultures, ideas, religious systems, foods, crops, and ideologies--all of which formed the Black Diaspora. We look at the centrality of these various cultures and ideas to the successful rise of the American colonies, including the skills that Africans brought to the emerging staple crop economies, the knowledge of plants, foods, crops, and healing practices. We look at both the evolution of American slave societies in the North and the South, as well as the rise of Free Black communities. We use documents and readings to understand the multiple contributions of African Americans to science, literature, and music. Of major importance is the formation of slave communities, kinship networks, the rise of an African American religion, and various forms of resistance to slavery that included running away, daily forms of resistance, and actual slave revolts. We also discuss the rise of a special form of "slave politics" that shapes evolving notions of freedom. In addition to discussions of southern and northern slave society, we also look at the role of free blacks in the antebellum reform movements, especially the abolitionist movement. The course concludes with the coming of the Civil War and a discussion of the multiple ways that African Americans played a role in accelerating the road to war and in facilitating their own emancipation.


General Education: GH
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Spring 2015
Prerequisite: AF AM 100 orHIST 003 orHIST 020 orHIST 021 orHIST 152

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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