Slavery and Emancipation in the American South

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Slavery and Emancipation in the American South

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    American Studies, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may only take one History Seminar. Spaces are limited.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Slavery and Emancipation are essential fields of study for anyone interested in nineteenth-century America. Slavery shaped the economy, society, and politics of the American South from the time the first Africans landed in Virginia in 1619 to the American Civil War, during which Lincoln issued the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. As a result of its pervasive influence in many different realms, American slavery is a particularly complex topic which has attracted the attention of a number of talented scholars from the beginning of the century to the present. Today, the historiography of slavery is a particularly exciting area at the forefront of historical studies. The historian of slavery has the benefit of having at his/her disposal a very large amount of primary sources (archival documents, published memoirs, autobiographies or letters, pamphlets and essays, etc.). At the same time, he/she has to be able to place this large body of data within the context of an equally large body of interpretations that different historians of slavery have provided at different times often taking opposite sides over particularly contentious issues.

    This seminar course aims to provide the student with the indispensable background which they need in order to be able to select, use, and interpret the vast range of primary sources related to American slavery and place it in the context of current historiographical debates. Confronting different topics related to slavery, students will familiarize with the different types of primary sources, discussing their viability and usefulness, and will become acquainted with the names of the most important scholars in the field, whose works they will be required to read and present. Both exercises will form the basis of the students? independent studies ? studies which will generate long essays on particular aspects of slavery. Major topics covered in t he course include Colonial Slavery, Slavery and the American Revolution, Planters? Resistance, the Abolitionist Movement, the Politics of Slavery, Civil War and Emancipation.

    Introductory Reading: Rick Halpern & Enric Dal Lago, eds., Slavery and Emancipation (Oxford:
    Blackwell, 2002) [textbook]; Peter Kolchin, American Slavery, 1619-1877 (New York: Hill &
    Wang, 2003); Ira Berlin, Generations of Captivity: A History of African American Slaves
    (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard, 2003); Mark M. Smith, Debating Slavery: Economy and
    Society in t he Antebellum American South (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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