HIST 444 (3 cr): Slave Societies in the Americas

HIST 444

Course Outline

  • Three Assignments
  • Online Discussions
  • Final Examination

Course Description

Student Profile

Karla Sapp, Elementary and High School Teacher

Karla Sapp

“I had only taken classes before on slavery in the US, so it was very interesting to learn more about slavery in Latin America, South America, and Africa.”

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History 444: Slave Societies in the Americas. A comparative analysis of the institution of chattel slavery, its growth, its effects on slaves and masters, its relation to the larger society, and the causes of its decline, in the various cultures of the Americas.

Note: this is an online course and requires the use of a computer with access to the internet.

Intended Audience

The web-based course has the capacity to attract students from a wide range of faculties, colleges and universities who are looking for an Arts course interesting in subject and stimulating in approach.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of History 444 you will be able to:

  • define the principal terms employed in the scholarship on slavery,
  • identify the principal characteristics of chattel slavery,
  • explain the reasons for slavery’s rise, continuance and ending,
  • evaluate the contribution of the slave experience in the development of the different societies and nation states of the New World,
  • understand the nature of the African diasporic communities in the New World and their contribution to the societies in which we live,
  • assess the different approaches to slavery employed by the scholarship the subject,
  • analyze primary evidence on slavery in the New World, identifying the evidence’s strengths and weaknesses and assessing its contribution to understanding slavery.

Course Overview

History 444, Slave Societies in the Americas, is composed of an introductory overview and six modules. Each module contains a variety of materials. Attached to each of modules 1 to 5 is a problem, composed of a set of primary documents, relating directly to the module’s subject. You are asked to write three essays, based on the documents in module 1, module 2 or 3, module 4 or 5. The purpose of the problems is to help you focus your attention on carefully chosen original sources and to learn how to write essays that analyze, synthesize and evaluate primary evidence. You will be expected to use, in groups, the Discussion Forums on the website to discuss the content and the context of each of the six problems (sets of original documents) in the light of the module itself. These discussion groups will provide you with an opportunity to share your knowledge, to seek feedback from fellow students as well as the instructor on your ideas, and to ask for help when you need it. The three course assignments are essays analyzing the content and themes of the primary documents in the problem in the context of the materials contained in the relevant module.

Course Work

  • Three problem analysis essay assignments
  • Discussions:online participation
  • A final examination


Three Assignments (20 marks each) 60
Discussions 10
Final exam 30


  • Harms, Robert W., The Diligent: A Voyage through the Worlds of the Slave Trade. ISBN:9780465028726
  • Dubois, Laurent, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, 2004, First Harvard University Press. ISBN: 9780674018266
  • Graham, Sandra Lauderdale, Caetana Says No: Women’s Stories From a Brazilian Slave Society, Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780521893543
  • Besson, Jean, Martha Brae’s Two Histories, University of North Carolina Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780807854099

HIST444 Textbook Order Form

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