History of Slavery and Servitude in the Western World – HIWD 550

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

This course examines the history of slavery and other forms of servitude in the Western world from the ancient civilizations of the Near East through the modern nation-states of Europe and the Americas.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Slavery, in one form or another, has been found in every corner of the world and featured in the histories of the major monotheistic faiths. By taking this course, the student will develop an informed understanding of this institution and its history. As the student will realize, American slavery evolved in a specific context in the modern world, while at the same time, drawing upon ancient networks and justifications to support it. The student will gain increased insight into how slavery could co-exist with freedom in the United States. The course will show the student the different roles slavery and slaves played in different countries at different times, focusing on the cultural, social, and political implications of the institution and those involved in it.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate graduate-level writing and critical thinking skills.
  2. Demonstrate graduate-level mastery and analysis of secondary and primary sources.
  3. Demonstrate graduate-level research skills in various types of primary sources, archives, and databases.
  4. Possess in-depth knowledge of the varied cultural, political, intellectual, and religious dynamics pertinent to forced labor in various settings.
  5. Produce a primary source based research paper suitable for presentation and publication.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

The student will complete 3 Discussions in this course. The student will post one thread of at least 500 words by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday of the assigned module. The student must then post 2 replies of at least 350 words by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of the assigned module. For each thread, students must support their assertions with scholarly citations in Turabian format. Each reply must incorporate scholarly citation in Turabian format. Acceptable sources include the Bible, course materials, relevant scholarly sources, and scholarly databases. 

This proposal is for the research paper that will be written for this class.  The student is free to research and write on any aspect of slavery/forced labor that falls within the chronological span of the course – to 1865 – regardless of geographical location. The research proposal is an explanation of the topic to be studied, the process by which a student answers a question of historical significance, and the principal sources for research. The annotated bibliography must include 15 secondary sources, 10 of which must be annotated. Proper Turabian formatting for the bibliography is required.

The student will write a 700-800 book review on From Rebellion to Revolution by Eugene Genovese in current Turabian format. The student will only use the assigned book for this assignment.

Write a draft of at least the first 5 full pages of your research paper. This must be the actual beginning of the paper, starting with the introduction and the first part of the body.

Write a research paper of 8-10 pages that is suitable for presentation at a scholarly conference. The paper must address a clearly-stated thesis. The thesis must be a significant statement about a significant topic related to this course. The paper must be tightly focused on supporting the thesis statement. Student must use at least 15 sources, at least 6 of which must be primary. Bibliography should be in Turabian format.  Use footnotes in Turabian, as well.  

Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the module in which it is assigned and the previous module(s). Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 2 essay questions and have a 2 hour time limit. Students are required to cite course materials used in their answers in proper Turabian format. Answers should be at least 400 words each.