Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Slavery in American Literature
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hrs + office hours to discuss presentations, individual essay and project planning tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Source analysis  1 x source analysis (1,500 words)  20%
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation  1 x oral presentation  20%
Semester Assessment Project  1 x project (5000 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which nineteenth-century pro and antislavery accounts have been used by historians and an awareness of the challenges of working with these sources

Demonstrate an awareness of the kinds of insight which may be drawn from this material and the historical context in which they can be located

Analyze and reflect critically on the relationship between the intentions of those who participated in creating these sources and their historical value

Construct and sustain historical arguments orally and in writing

Demonstrate the ability to work independently

Brief description

This module will provide a close reading of the dynamics of nineteenth-century American slavery, from both historical and literary perspectives. Such an approach will also illuminate broader studies on the nineteenth-century United States as well as histories and theories of gender and race. The first half of the module will analyze the writings of slaves and free persons of colour. The second half of the module will examine representations of slavery by white pro and antislavery activists. In these examinations, a variety of primary source material will be consulted: slave narratives, novels, political pamphlets, letters, speeches and interviews. The final sessions will engage with the memory of slavery in contemporary twenty-first century American society.


This module will develop students’ understanding of the social, political and economic history of nineteenth-century American slavery. Drawing out issues of narrative voice, textual mediation and audience, students will apply their close reading of historical narrative to illuminate processes of production, circulation and reception of representations of slavery. These writings, from both ‘history from below’ and ‘history from above’ perspectives, will be considered in the greater history and historiography of nineteenth-century American slavery.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Oral and written communication skills will be developed through seminars and feedback on written work. Literary skills will be assessed through written assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Written work will be returned in tutorials where advice will be given on improving students’ research techniques and essay writing skills
Information Technology This module will help develop oral and written skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a clear manner, will further develop useful skills of analysis and presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will help develop oral and written skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a clear manner, will further develop useful skills of analysis and presentation.
Problem solving Students will be required to locate and assess primary source materials. Assessed through written assignments and presentations.
Research skills Students will be required to carry out research for seminars and written work. The latter will be assessed though written assignments and presentations.
Subject Specific Skills This module will help students use and assess a range of source material relevant to the period and subject, including examples of slave and neo-slave narratives, abolitionist and proslavery novels, political pamphlets, letters, WPA interviews, speeches and other documentary sources.
Team work Students will be required to locate primary and secondary source materials through library and on-line sources. Students will be encouraged to word-process their assessed work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6