Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Theoretical Groundings (1): Comparative Approaches to the History of Atlantic Slavery


Comparative slavery/ Tannenbaum/ de la Fuente:

  • According to Alejandro de la Fuente, what were the main comparative arguments made by Tannenbaum about slavery in the Americas?
  • Why did Tannenbaum regard “Iberian” slavery as different?
  • How have scholars refuted Tannenbaum's claims over the years?
  • How, in de la Fuente’s view, might some of Tannenbaum’s arguments remain relevant for the history of slavery in Cuba?
  • What do you think of his arguments?

Atlantic World approaches:

  • How does Eltis’ approach differ from those of Tannenbaum and, following him, De la Fuente? Does Atlantic slave trading look different when considered in global perspective?
  • What do you understand by the term “Atlantic World”? Is it a useful term?

Core readings:

De la Fuente, Alejandro. “Slave Law and Claims-making in Cuba: The Tannenbaum Debate Revisited.” Law and History Review, 22:2 (Summer 2004): 339-67.

Eltis, David. “Free and Coerced Migrations: the Atlantic in Global Perspective,” European Review, 12 (2004): 313-28.

Further reading:

Frank Tannenbaum, Slave & Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. A. Knopf, 1947.

Responses to de la Fuente (and his reply) by historians of Cuba in Law& History Review 22:2