ANT 324L • Archaeology/History of Slavery in North America
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
This course is a comparative survey of the institution of slavery on the American mainland (with some discussion of the Caribbean) from the era of seventeenth-century European colonialism through the antebellum period. We will begin by exploring Portuguese, French, Dutch, British and Spanish colonizing efforts in the Americas, and their varying roles in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The class proceeds with discussions of the Middle Passage, and the development of plantation societies. While plantation economies will be covered, the emphasis will be on issues related to society, culture, and identity formation, particularly amongst the enslaved. Thus, the course will cover the daily life experiences of enslaved peoples within a variety of sociohistorical contexts marked by relations of domination and resistance. Through historical and archaeological evidence, one begins, however, to understand that there existed no monolithic enslaved experience. Rather, a diversity of experiences, and a range of cultural and social institutions characterized enslaved life. The issue of identity formation is central here: race, as a social construct, was variously instituted and negotiated under different colonial powers, but nonetheless served as a powerful marker in slave societies. We will, therefore, consider racial formation from a comparative perspective.