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The Slave Ship: Business, terror and resistance

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.

Description

The slave ship is among the most notorious institutions in world history. Despite this notoriety historians have still to reconstruct its development over time. Quantitative data has been collected on the volume of the trade, but studies of the specifics of the business, trade and shipping remain fragmented. Using the abundance of primary source material in Dutch, English and other archives we will explore the development of the slave ship through the ages. The sources make it possible to understand the businesses that employed slave ships. Ship logs, insurance policies and eye witness accounts enable us to answer specific questions about this history, the terror it entailed and the resistance that it sparked.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

The student has acquired:

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subtracks as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;
    -in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the manner in which migrations (of people, goods and ideas) between and within states have led to shifts (in cohesion, ethnic composition, policies, imaging, culture, and power relations) in the period 1600-2000, with a focus on (urban) networks (within and across borders);

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subtrack in question, with a particular focus on the following:
    -in the specialisation Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence: the interdisciplinary approach (application of theories and methods from social sciences), the comparative perspective (diachronic and synchronic) and working with a large variety of primary sources;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) Can place the development of the Dutch historiography of the slave trade in an international context.

  • 14) Knows the possibilities and the limitations of the available primary source material.

  • 15) (ResMA only – Can carry out an international multi-archival research project that is relevant to both Dutch and non-Dutch historiography of the slave trade.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the MA History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method

  • Written paper (6500-7500 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    *measured learning objectives: 1-8 (ResMA also: 15)

  • Oral presentation
    *measured learning objectives: 3-7

  • Assignment 1 (historiographical essay)
    *measured learning objectives: 1, 8, 11- 13 (ResMA also: 10)

  • Assignment 2 (archival plan)
    *measured learning objectives: 2, 14

  • Assignment 3 (peer review)
    *measured learning objectives: 9

Weighing

  • Written paper: 60 %

  • Oral presentation: 10 %

  • Assignment 1: 10 %

  • Assignment 2: 10 %

  • Assignment 3: 10 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficent.

Deadlines

Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.

Resit

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.

Reading list

Johannes M. Postma, The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade (Cambridge 1993).

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. Karwan Fatah-Black

Remarks

None.