Skip to main content Skip to navigation


The powerpoint from the session is available here

For Class:

1: Reflective exercise:

  • Take a minute to reflect on why you want to study this course (academic or personal reasons, up to you)? Why do you think it's important? What are your hopes for our collective discussions and for what we will take from the course? How might this course contribute (or not) to 'decolonising' the study of the past? This is partly a reflective exercise for you to do on your own, but there will be an opportunity to talk about some of your reflections in groups if you would like. We will revisit these questions at the end of the course.

2: Seminar questions:

  • Choose one case about an enslaved person's actions from Gloria Garcia's documentary collection, Voices of the Enslaved. What did you find surprising about it? What light does it shed on enslaved people's quest to alter the conditions of their enslavement? What are the limitations of these sources?
  • What were the similarities and differences between the kinds of slave regimes established across the Americas? How did they vary across place and time?
  • What role did slavery play in the national histories of Brazil and Cuba in the nineteenth century and before?
  • Was the nineteenth century an era of abolition, or of an intensification of slavery and the trade?

Core reading:

  • Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher. Slavery, Freedom, and Abolition in Latin America and the Atlantic World. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2011 (e-book @ Library)

- Introduction: pp 1-8.

- Chapter Four: “The Resurgence and Destruction of Slavery in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Brazil,” pp. 120-155.

  • Gloria Garcia, Voices of the Enslaved in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: A Documentary History (UNC Press, 2011). Look over the volume and select a case you think is interesting. Come to class prepared to talk about it.