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USEM HIST 21791/AFST 13184: Slavery and Freedom in the United States

Course Description

 This course introduces students to the history of United States slavery with a particular focus upon the lives and experiences of enslaved people themselves. What were the world views of enslaved people and what sources have scholars drawn upon to write history? What are the archives of U.S. slavery and what limits do scholars encounter when working with these archives? Through a range of sources including the narratives and testimonies of enslaved people, abolitionist papers, scientific records, the holdings of universities connected to slavery, the papers of southern slave holders, and interviews with formerly enslaved people, students will be introduced to the vast body of resources that together comprise the archives of U.S. slavery.

This course also provides greater appreciation of classic and recent scholarship on nineteenth century African American history, the history of slavery in the United States, the making of race and the operation of gender in US history. The course will examine these themes through scholarship in slavery studies across cultural, social, political, legal, economic, and institutional history. As a University Seminar, this course introduces students to the craft of historical writing. 


Beginning the Research Process

Developing a Research Strategy for Success

Selecting a Topic

  • Based on what you read and discussed in class, what topics would you consider completing as a research assignment?

What are some of the keywords or subject terms used in the readings and class discussions?

  • What are the keywords/subject terms used by experts?
  • What are the keywords/subject terms used by scholars?
  • What are the keywords/subject terms used in web-based or social media platforms?

Gathering background information allows you to:

  • Gain familiarity with a topic
  • Identifying different perspectives on a topic
  • Identify the experts, scholars, and researchers familiar with your topic


Hesburgh Libraries - One Search Library Catalog

Reference/Background Resources


Books/e-Books from the Hesburgh Libraries