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Slavery and Emancipation

Lecture Powerpoint

(Powerpoint Presentation)Powerpoint from previous years [contains some additional info]


  • Were political independence and slavery incompatible?
  • Why was slavery abolished so late in Brazil and Cuba (and the US South)?
  • Who abolished slavery?

Required Reading

  • Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher. Slavery, Freedom and Abolition in Latin America and the Atlantic World, chapter Four: “Resurgence and Destruction of Slavery in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Brazil,” 120-159. (scanned chapter available here)
  • Camilla Townsend, “Half of my Body Free, the Other Half Enslaved: The Politics of the Slaves of Guayaquil at the End of the Colonial Era,” Colonial Latin American Review, 7:1 (1998): 105-28

Additional Reading

Primary sources

  • Robert Conrad, ed., Children of God’s Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 1984), part 10: “The Abolition Struggle,” pp 418-482 (especially extracts numbers 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.8, 10.10)
  • García, Gloria. Voices of the Enslaved in Nineteenth Century Cuba, translated by Nancy L. Westrate. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011. [e-book at library]
  • Katharine J McKnight and Leo J Garofalo, eds. Afro-Latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2009.
  • Law, Robin, and Paul E. Lovejoy, eds. The Biography of Mahomma Gardo Baquaqua: His Passage from Slavery to Freedom in Africa and America. New Jersey: Marcus Wiener, 2001.


  • Bergad, Laird. The Comparative Histories of Slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), Chapter 1: “From Colonization to Abolition: Patterns of Historical Development in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States,” pp 1-32 (scanned chapter available at Library)
  • Cowling, Camillia. “As a Slave Woman and as a Mother: Women and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro.” Social History, 26:3 (August 2011), 294-311
  • Cowling, Camillia. Conceiving Freedom: Women of Colour, Gender, and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.
  • Drescher, Seymour. “Brazilian Abolition in Comparative Perspective.” Hispanic American Historical Review, 68:3 (August 1988): 429-60.
  • Robert Edgar Conrad, The Destruction of Brazilian Slavery, 1850-1888 (1972)
  • Graham, Sandra Lauderdale. “Being Yoruba in Rio de Janeiro.” Slavery & Abolition, 32:1 (March 2011): 1-26.
  • Karasch, Mary. Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1850. Princeton University Press, 1987. [E-book at library]
  • Thomas E. Skidmore, Black into white: race and nationality in Brazilian thought (1993), esp. Chapter 1: “The Intellectual Context of Abolition in Brazil,” pp 1-37.
  • Klein, Herbert S., and Francisco Vidal Luna, Slavery in Brazil. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • Scott, Rebecca J. “Defining the Boundaries of Freedom in the World of Cane: Cuba, Brazil and Louisiana after Emancipation.” American Historical Review, 99:1 (February 1994): 70-102.
  • Scott, Rebecca J. Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labour, 1860-1899. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.
  • Scott, Rebecca. “Explaining Abolition: Contradiction, Adaptation, and Challenge in Cuban Slave Society, 1860-1886.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26:1 (January 1984), 83-111.

    Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation and Revolution, 1868-1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999)