HS2O18-Pirates of the Caribbean: Empire, Slavery, and Society, 1550-1750

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Richard Blakemore

Email: r.blakemore@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

In this course we will examine the question of piracy in terms of its popular connotations, legal definition, social dimensions, and its importance for the growth of early modern empires, with specific reference to the Caribbean from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century.



Part 2 Options can be either chronological or thematic. Chronological Options will usually take the form of a survey of a particular geographical area or nation over a defined period of one or two centuries. These Options aim to acquaint students with the causes and consequences of continuity and change over the long term in the political, social, economic and cultural systems under study. Thematic Options take key concepts, ideas, or debates in history and study them in a number of different contexts, either geographically or across historical periods. The aim again is to acquaint students with the causes of continuity and change, but this time by a more comparative approach.


Aims:
Part 2 Options can be either chronological or thematic. Chronological Options will usually take the form of a survey of a particular geographical area or nation over a defined period of one or two centuries. These Options aim to acquaint students with the causes and consequences of continuity and change over the long term in the political, social, economic and cultural systems under study. Thematic Options take key concepts, ideas, or debates in history and study them in a number of different contexts, either geographically or across historical periods. The aim again is to acquaint students with the causes of continuity and change, but this time by a more comparative approach.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
•identify and explain the main issues and events studied
•appraise critically the primary sources and historiographical interpretations of the subject
•think comparatively about aspects of African, American, British, European, Middle Eastern and South Asian history over a substantial period
•assess the nature of social, economic, political and cultural change and the particular methodologies associated with tracing it
•organise material and articulate arguments effectively in different kinds of written exercises and orally
•locate and assemble bibliographic and other information by independent research, using IT as appropriate

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student’s effectiveness in group situations and team-working. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources and databases, where appropriate.

Outline content:

Pirates are some of the most familiar stereotypical figures, appearing regularly in popular culture of all kinds. They have proved equally fascinating to historians, who have variously characterised them as violent scoundrels, as aggressive imperialists, or as radical anarchists and sexual revolutionaries; scholars continue to debate the exact historical meanings of piracy. The sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the period covered in this module, were not only the heyday of Atlantic piracy, they were also a period when the Caribbean was transformed and new societies emerged based upon continuous warfare, trade, and slavery, and which integrated African, American, and European cultures. Piracy held a central and yet paradoxical position in this transformation, simultaneously allowing empires to exert power over their colonies and to compete with rivals, while also challenging central authority and societal norms. We will explore the structure of the Spanish empire in the Caribbean at the beginning of the sixteenth century; the development of French, English, and Dutch piracy against Spanish colonies and shipping; the resulting political, economic, and social dynamics in the Caribbean (including the impact of the transatlantic slave trade); and the changing cultural and legal definitions of piracy, as imperial governments sought to control and suppress the violence on which they had once relied.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars, requiring preparatory reading and investigation, may include informal and interactive presentations by the module teacher; structured group discussion; short seminar papers by students; occasional tutorials; team-based simulation exercises and debates; examination of primary and secondary sources, as appropriate. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study: 169
       
Total hours by term 200
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One two-hour paper requiring two answers to be taken at the time of the Part 2 examinations.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students will write ONE essay of 2,500 words, to be handed in by 12 noon on the Monday of week 11 of term, which should be submitted electronically via Blackboard. Five marks will be deducted if the coursework essay exceeds 2,625 words (ie 5% over the word limit).

Formative assessment methods:
1,000 words or 2 pages of A4 maximum to include, at the module convenor’s discretion, an essay plan, bibliography, book review or other preparatory work towards the summative essay.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-assessment will be by the same method as the module’s original requirement, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books: Purchase of textbooks is not compulsory, but students should consider setting aside £25 per course to cover the purchase of useful books.
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 8 April 2019

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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