HS3S42-Slavery in America, A

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: HS3S92 Slavery in America, B
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Emily West

Email: e.r.west@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Specials aim to provide 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through close examination and evaluation of primary sources and the light they shed on issues and problems.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
recognise and interpret a range of different primary materials
undertake detailed textual analysis and comment on the primary materials
achieve a detailed command of varying historical interpretations of the primary materials and subject as a whole
organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing under timed conditions

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
American slavery and its legacy raise major questions about the nature of American society, and the study of enslavement has produced many historiographical debates among historians. This module considers key aspects of American slavery. Issues to be explored include the nature of enslaved families, enslaved work patterns, enslaved culture and belief systems, enslaved solidarity and divisions as well as the exploitation of slaves through physical or sexual abuse and enforced separations. The module also explores white perspectives on enslavement, compares slavery in the USA with that in the Caribbean and South America, and traces the abolition of enslavement during the Civil War era. It also considers literary representations of slavery. There will be a focus on gender throughout the module. Key primary sources from enslaved perspectives are used throughout, including the narratives and autobiographies of former slaves (for example the Works Progress Administration interviews, and the autobiographies of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs). Students also examine other primary evidence such as wills, bills of sale and enslaved folk stories. White perspectives on enslavement are also utilized, including the diaries and letters of slave owners such as James Henry Hammond and Frances Anne Kemble.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The teaching for this module and for HS3S92 together involves weekly two-hour discussion seminars. Students will gain 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through the detailed evaluations of key texts, and the light they shed on the issues and problems being investigated. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the Summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11 11
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 88 89
Total hours by term 99.00 101.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Between two and four pieces of formative written work, for instance essays, seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, will normally be required for this Special Subject over the two terms. Students will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature. Practice commentaries on the sources will be required for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    A three-hour paper involving detailed commentary on extracts from the sources studied.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail Part Three are permitted one further attempt at a resit in each module they have failed. Students who fail Part Three will no longer be eligible for an Honours Degree, but, assuming the necessary threshold after the resit (normally an overall average of 35% or above) is achieved, students will obtain a Pass Degree. Re-examination in August, where students are permitted to re-sit this module

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

    Things to do now