Britain, the Empire and slavery in the Caribbean: 1605-1807
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Keeley Street
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
On this six-week course we will explore the expansion of plantation culture on Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Barbados, Montserrat and Antigua. Analysing the social and cultural lives of plantation owners and slaves, with reference to slave resistance and rebellions and retaliatory violence, we will assess the social and cultural instabilities of slave societies.
What will we cover?
Early settlements and indentured servitude
• The rise of the transatlantic slave trade
• Sugar, the New World and capital expansion
• The impact of European conflicts on the Caribbean
• The lives of planters
• The social and cultural lives of slaves
• The Maroon Wars, slave rebellions & everyday acts of resistance
• Obeah, voodoo & warfare
• Slavery, gender and power
• The impact of the Haitian Revolution.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Identify social and cultural instabilities in slave societies
• Evaluate the significance of sugar for the slave economy
• Critically assess the hierarchical nature of plantation societies in the Caribbean
• Evaluate the significance of European conflicts on slave societies
• Identify different types of slave resistance, including those influenced by African customs
• Understand the significance of Maroon societies and Maroon leaders
• Assess the roles of gender, power and sexuality in slave societies.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and no prior knowledge of the subject is required. An open mind is essential for the topic. Optionally, you may wish to read the following to gain better insight into the subject:
James Walvin (2007) The Trader, the Owner, the Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery
Sidney W Mintz (1985) Sweetness and Power
You can also find basic but reliable introductory information to this topic for free on the British Library and National
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Through lectures/class-based discussions and debates. You will be provided with extracts from texts, which will
include both contemporary and historiographical/theoretical sources.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please bring a pen and paper if you wish to take notes.