Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Slavery in America: Voices, Echoes, Songs and Stories
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hrs + individual tutorials of 10 – 15 minutes essay and project planning


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x documentary analysis (1,500 words) 20%  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x essay (1,500 words) 20%  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x project (5000 words) 60%  60%
Supplementary Assessment Failed pieces to be resubmitted, however, students who fail to submit any of the written work will not be permitted to resit this module 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which personal records have been used by historians and an awareness of the challenges of working with these sources;
2. 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
3. Analyze and reflect critically on the relationship between the intentions of those who participated in creating these sources and their historical value.
4. construct and sustain historical arguments orally (unassessed) and in writing;
5. work both independently and collaboratively and to participate in group discussions (unassessed

Brief description

1 Academic rationale of the proposal:

This unit offers students the opportunity to undertake a forensic analysis of the history of slavery in the United States. The main approach of the unit is through the many primary source records created by the people living in this slave society, both white slaveholders, and black slaves. These personal testimonies, narratives, diaries, letters, songs and stories will allow students to consider the many subtle relationships between black and white, alongside the unique African-American culture forged by the slaves. These personal records will be placed within the historical context of the rise and fall of American slavery, and will offer a new perspective on the past.

2 Brief Description:
Human bondage is as old as America itself, and was an essential element in the growth of this new world. This unit will analyse the establishment, development and expansion of the American slave system ? and also its sudden, abrupt end in 1865 at the conclusion of the US Civil War. This is a subject rich in archive material, a great deal of which is now accessible through vast collections of scanned original documents on American government, university and community websites. Much of this material is comprised of letters, speeches, diaries, testimonies, personal narratives, memoirs, songs and stories from both the white slaveholders and the black slaves. The course will be approached via these personal records which, from their respective standpoints, give us insights on what it was like to live within a slave system. These personal records will be placed within the context of American slavery, and further contextualised within the broader history of America itself.

3 Content:

10 x 2 hour seminars arranged weekly on the following topics:
1: Introduction to slavery in the USA
2: Contours: origins, geography, scope, historiography
3: Economics: the business of slavery
4: Men: slaveholders, slaves, poor whites, free blacks
5: Women: plantation mistress, black slave women, children
6: Slave resistance and rebellion
7: Slave religion
8: Slave music and dance
9: Abolitionism and pro-slavery thought
10: Freedom

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number 7. Application of number: N/A
Communication 3. 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 4. 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 6. Information technology: 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 and handouts for presentations. Likewise, students will be expected to use IT in their presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning 8. 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 1. Problem Solving: Students will be required to locate and assess primary source materials. Assessed through written assignments and presentations.
Research skills 2. 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 9. Subject Specific Skills This module will develop knowledge of how the archives of slavery can be explored in a range of contexts and how their study will present new opportunities for historians of American slavery.
Team work 5. Team work: Students will collaborate during seminar activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6