Middle Passages: Syllabus

Course Readings:

Lecture/Discussion One: Introduction: Why Slaves?  Why Africans? (Smallwood, Walvin)


Gad Heuman and James Walvin, eds., The Slavery Reader, Part One:

Curtin, “Epidemiology and the Slave Trade”

Manning, “Why Africans?  The Rise of the Slave Trade to 1700”

Eltis and Richardson, “West Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade: New Evidence of Long-Run Trends”

Eltis, “Labour and Coercion in the English Atlantic World from the Seventeenth to the early Twentieth Century”

Lecture/Discussion Two: Slavery in Africa (TBA)


Miers & Kopytoff, Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, Part I, Chapter I Introduction.

Akosua Perbi, A History of Indigenous Slavery in Ghana, Chapters 2-5

Lecture/Discussion Three: Working with the Slave Trade Database (Smallwood, Walvin)


David Eltis, “Construction of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database: Sources and Methods”(http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/database/methodology-01.faces)“Guide to Understanding and Using the Online Database and Website”

Excursion to Harewood


James Walvin, ‘The Colonial Origins of English Wealth: The Harewoods of Yorkshire’

Lecture/Discussion Four: Ships, Crews, and Cargoes (Smallwood)


Marcus Rediker, Slave Ship, Chapter 2

Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora, Chapter 3          

Lecture/Discussion Five: Life and Death in the Ocean Crossing (Walvin)


James Walvin, Black Ivory: A History of British Slavery, Chapter 4

Herbert S. Klein and Stanley L. Engerman, “Long-Term Trends in African Mortality in the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” Slavery & Abolition, 18: 1 (1997), 36-48

Excursion to Liverpool


Jane Longmore, ‘Cemented by the Blood of a Negro?’ The Impact of the Slave Trade on Eighteenth-Century Liverpool’, D. Richardson, S. Schwarz and T. Tibbles, eds., Liverpool and Transatlantic Slavery

Jacqueline Nassy Brown, ‘Enslaving history: Narratives on Local Whiteness in a Black Atlantic Port,’ American Ethnologist 27.2 (2000), pp.340-70

Lecture/Discussion Six: Impact of the Slave Trade in Africa and the Americas  (Smallwood)


Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades, Chapter 7

Anne C. Bailey, African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Chapter 6

Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery, Chapter 7

Lecture/Discussion Seven: Antislavery and Abolition of the Slave Trade  (Walvin)


James Walvin, Atlas of Slavery, Chapter 18

Marcus Rediker, Slave Ship, Chapter 10

Akosua Adoma Perbi, Indigenous Slavery in Ghana, pp. 152-169

Lecture/Discussion Eight: The Impact of the Slave Trade on African Society Today  (Van Den Bersselaar)


Gareth Austin, “The ‘Reversal of Fortune’ Thesis and the Compression of History: Perspectives from African and Comparative Economic History”

Joseph E. Inikori, “Ideology Versus the Tyranny of Paradigm: Historians and the Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on African Societies”

Nathan Nunn, “The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades”