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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "HS-RS 320"
COURSE NAME: "The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Gene Ogle
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing; Corequisite: EN 110
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
History Research Seminar: 300-level history courses designated by the prefix HS-RS indicate courses being offered as Research Seminars. These courses are writing-intensive and help to train students to carry out original research by guiding them through the preparation of a significant research paper. History majors are encouraged to take these before their senior year, and especially before the semester in which they prepare their thesis.
This intellectual history course examines one of the most profound paradoxes in the history of Western culture, i.e., the fact that the development of freedom as one of its most celebrated ideals has been intimately tied to the practice of slavery.  Aristotle and Cicero owned slaves, as did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  The eighteenth-century Atlantic World saw not only the Enlightenment, the American Revolution and the French Revolution, but also the high point of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In exploring the longer term history of this paradox, students will also investigate the place of slavery as an institution and an idea in the development of Western cultural, religious, intellectual, and political traditions.

Satisfies "Ancient History", "Early Modern History" or "Modern History" core course requirement for History majors.
 
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

“How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”--Samuel Johnson (1775)

Few would argue with the assertion that “freedom” is one of the most celebrated values in Western cultures.  Greek and Roman writers claimed that their freedom made them different from their neighbors and defined their social, cultural, and political lives.  The most important Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—promised (and promise) liberation or true freedom.  The philosophes of the Enlightenment celebrated the virtues of liberty as did the leaders of the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions.  In the modern West, we claim that freedom is a fundamental right to which everyone is entitled simply as a result of being human.  This concern with freedom is also central to Western educational traditions--the liberal arts, or liberal studies, are by definition those arts or studies which make one free, or, alternatively, those arts or studies appropriate to free women and free men.  In sum, we can be tempted to believe that the West and freedom are coterminous.

Samuel Johnson’s question highlights the fact that the connections between the two are not so straightforward.  While as an opponent of the American Revolution, he mainly sought to ridicule the Revolutionaries, his question points towards a profound paradox in Western celebrations of liberty—through most of the history of the West, freedom existed side-by-side with slavery.  Even more disconcerting, the emergence of liberty as a core value was more often than not accompanied by the expansion and defense of slavery as an institution.  Aristotle and Cicero owned slaves, as did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  The eighteenth-century Atlantic World was the setting for not only the liberatory philosophies of the Enlightenment but also the slave trade at its peak.

In this course we will seek answers to Johnson’s question and explore the paradox to which it points.  In doing so, we will investigate the place and development of slavery as both an idea and an institution in the development of Western cultural, religious, intellectual, and political traditions.  Finally, and perhaps most significantly, by facing the problem of slavery, we will seek out a fuller and more complex understanding of the evolution of the idea of freedom in the West.

Class Sessions 

This course will primarily be run as a seminar in which we discuss the assigned readings.  As such, your active participation is absolutely necessary to making the course work well.  The high percentage of your grade based on your participation reflects this fact.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

In successfully completing this course, you should work on developing (and improving) the following competencies and skills:

  • An understanding of the of the complex relationship between slavery and freedom in Western cultures and traditions;
  • An awareness of the continuities in Western thought and cultural practice regarding the issues of liberty and bondage;
  • An understanding of some of the major modes of analysis historians and other scholars have used to interpret these topics;
  • Critical analysis of primary sources, including literary and intellectual texts;
  • Critical analysis of historians' and other scholarly arguments;
  • Researching historical subjects (i.e., finding and evaluating primary and secondary sources);
  • Developing well-reasoned, well-supported historical arguments;
  • Effectively communicating information, arguments and ideas orally and in writing in accurate, polished, and persuasive English.
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New WorldDavid Brion DavisOxford University Press9780195339444 Available at the Almost Corner Bookshop
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave Critical EditionFrederick DouglassYale University Press; Critical edition 978-0300204711  Available at the Almost Corner Bookshop
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
ParticipationThis course will primarily be run as a seminar in which we discuss the assigned readings. As such, your active participation in our discussions is absolutely necessary to making the course work well. The high percentage of your grade that will be based on your participation reflects that fact. You should bring a question based on the readings that you believe we should discuss to each class. On occasion, additional brief in class or out of class reaction papers may be assigned as components of your participation grade. Please note that behaving in ways that create distractions for other members of the class (including the professor) will lower your participation grade. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to: messaging, checking Facebook or other social networks, catching up on e-mail, watching on-line videos, reading non-class related materials, studying for other courses, shopping on-line, and generally any activity that detracts from your or any other classmate's full participation in what we are doing in the classroom.20%
3-4 Reaction PapersIn each of the reaction papers (see the course schedule for due dates), you will develop a brief but coherent and well-supported argument regarding the readings for the day on which the paper is due. In these papers, you should not summarize the reading, but rather develop a main thought of your own building on those readings. Ways of developing such arguments include, but are not limited to: critiquing some part of the argument of a secondary source, testing some part of the argument of a secondary source through the analysis of a primary source, comparing and contrasting different readings, or developing a point made by one of the authors more fully and in doing so explaining more of what it may tell us about the subject under discussion. Your grade for these reaction papers will be determined by the strength and focus of your analysis, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought.25%
Final ExamThe final exam will be composed of two essay questions I will give you the week before the exam. You will answer one of those questions. The exam will be open book and open notes. Your grade on the exam will depend upon the analytical strength and persuasiveness of your arguments, your capacity to discuss the material we cover in the course as a whole, and the factual accuracy of your answers.25%
Research Paper (including draft, revision, and presentation, c. 15 pages)For the research paper (c. 15 pages), you will explore a topic appropriate for the course chosen in consultation with me. Your paper should build on both primary and secondary sources, and in preparing it, I will guide you through the processes of preparing a first draft and revising that draft to produce a stronger final paper. You also will present this paper to the rest of the class for discussion. For these discussions, each of you will also review at least one of your colleagues’ papers, providing both a written review (for the author and for me) and an oral commentary during the discussion of her/his paper in class. The grade on this assignment will be determined by the strength of your analysis and research, the persuasiveness of your argument (including quality of writing), and the originality of your thought. 30%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is a highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
See above on participation.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE


Important Course Policies

All assignments must be submitted in the form of both hard and electronic copies (e-mail them to me as .pdf, .doc, or .docx files).

All late work will be penalized by at least one letter grade.  No late work will be accepted following the final examination.


Any documented case of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result not only in a failing grade for the assignment in question but also in a failing grade for the course as a whole. Please remember that, as the University's policy states, "Plagiarism can be deliberate or negligent; students are responsible for ensuring that any work submitted with their name on it is properly referenced."  If you have questions about how to cite material properly, refer to the appropriate sections of the MLA Style Manual or Chicago Manual of Style--if you have questions as to whether particular pieces of material should be cited, ask me. Note that submitting work that you have previously submitted (or plan to submit) for credit in another course is also a form of academic dishonesty, unless you obtain explicit approval from both instructors to do so. For this course, no such double submission is allowed. Please note that your papers may be submitted to turnitin.com to check their content for plagiarism.

Accessing Shared Documents on MyJCU and Other Course Readings

1. Go to the internal web site (MY JCU).
2. After you have logged in, click on the course post-it for Fall 2019, HS RS 320. Then click on shared files.
3. Please note that handouts in the form of pdf documents may not open with some internet browsers (in particular there seem to be incompatibilities with Chrome).  If a source doesn't open, try another browser; if the problem persists please e-mail me.
4. Be sure to check the handouts page frequently for changes and updates. Similarly, I will post messages on the MyJCU board should I need to contact you in between class meetings (e.g., in the case of an unexpected class cancellation).
5. All other course readings are either in the form of the books listed above or available on-line through the links on this syllabus.
6. J-Stor Readings--While on campus, you should be able to access these readings simply by clicking on the links on the syllabus.  On the page that appears, you can find links to download the full article as a PDF file or to print it out.  Off-campus you may need to go to the website for the Frohring Library, click on the link for "Databases" and "J-Stor" and then if need be search for the article manually.


Course Schedule (Please note that the following is subject to change--any updates will be made to the on-line syllabus, available on the University's webpage: http://www.johncabot.edu/academics/courses/course-schedules-syllabi.aspx.)  

Sept. 3       Introductions:  Freedom, Slavery, and the “West”   

Sept. 5       The Problem and Some of Its Dimensions
Davis, 1-26 (Prologue, Chapter 1)


Sept. 10       What is Slavery? (And a First Look at Ancient Foundations)
Davis, 27-47 (Chapter 2)
Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, 1-14 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Recommended:  Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, 17-34 

Sept. 12 “Out of the House of Slavery”: The Ancient Near East and the Birth of Judaism
“The Code of Hammurabi”
Leviticus (25: 35-55) 
Genesis (9:18-27; 17: 1-42)
Exodus, (Chs. 1-21)
Nehemiah, (Ch. 5)
Job, (Ch. 31)
Jeremiah, (Ch. 34)
Sirach (Ch. 33)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Recommended:  Deuteronomy, (Ch. 15), 2 Kings (4:1-7)
                         

Sept. 17       Greek Liberties and Natural Slaves:  Slavery and the Birth of Philosophy, Pt I
Dubois, "Slavery in Greece," 78-84 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Hesiod, Works and Days (excerpts) 
Strabo, Geographia (excerpts)
Antiphon, On the Choreutes (excerpts)
Demosthenes, Against Timocrates (excerpts)
Plato, Laws (excerpts)
Plato, Republic (excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Recommended:  Lassopoulos, "Greek Slavery: From Domination to Property and Back Again," 115-130 (Stable URL:  http://www.jstor.org/stable/41722136)

Sept. 19       Greek Liberties and Natural Slaves:  Slavery and the Birth of Philosophy, Pt II
Aristotle, Politics (excerpts) (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Reaction Paper 1 Due

Sept. 20 OFFICIAL JCU FRIDAY MAKE-UP--“Our Fellow Slaves”:  Sophists, Cynics, Stoics and Slavery
Dio Chrysostom, Slavery and Freedom 
Horace, Satires (excerpts)
Seneca, The Tranquility of the Mind (excerpts)
Seneca, Letters (excerpts)
Seneca, On Benefits (excerpts)
Aulus Geliius, Attic Nights (excerpts)
Macrobius, Saturnalia (excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2

Sept. 24     Defining Bondage:  Roman Slavery and Roman Law
Twelve Tables of Law
Justinian, Digest (excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files 
Group Discussion of Research Projects: Topics and Planned Approach   

Sept. 26      Contesting Liberty:  Cicero vs. Spartacus
Cicero, The Second Philippic (excerpts)
Sources for the Three Slave Revolts
Recommended: Tacitus, “The Murder of Pedanius Secundus”
Recommended:  Pliny the Younger, “Letter XXXIII"
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files 
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2 

Oct. 1     The Bondage of Sin:  Early Christianity and Slavery
Matthew, Chs. 24-25
John, Ch. 8 
Romans, 6:15-23 and Ch. 8
1 Corinthians, Ch. 7
Galatians, Chs. 3-5
Colossians, 3:22-4:1
Titus, 2: 9-13
1 Timothy, 6: 1-2
Philippians, 2: 5-12
1 Peter, 2: 18-21
Philemon
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2

Oct. 3     Spiritual Freedom, Bodily Constraint:  Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo, The City of God (excerpts) (Shared Files, MyJCU) 
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2                                    
                              

Oct. 8     The Roots of Racial Slavery in the Americas
Davis, 48-102 (Chapters 3-4)

Oct. 10       Domestici Hostes and Dying Slaves:  Slavery and the Renaissance Pt. 1
McKee, "Domestic Slavery in Renaissance Italy," 305-326 (Academic Search Premier) http://search.ebscohost.com.web.johncabot.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=34555294&site=ehost-live
Vergerius, “The New Education” (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Machiavelli, “The Ancients and Liberty” (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2 

 

Oct. 15         Natural Slaves or Natural Christians:  Slavery and the Renaissance, Pt. 2 
Davis, "The Legitimacy of Enslavement and the Ideal of the Christian Servant: Moral Doubts and Rationalizations," 165-196 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Sepúlveda, Democrates Secundus (excerpts)
Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians (excerpts) 
Las Casas, A Short Account of the History of the Indies (excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Preliminary Bibliography Due 
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2   

Oct. 17        Slavery in the Colonial Americas
Davis, 103-140 (Chapters 5-6)

 

Oct. 22        “A State of Perfect Freedom?”:  John Locke, Political Liberty and Colonial Slavery
Locke, Two Treatises of Government (excerpts)
The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2 

Oct. 24         The Sin of Bondage: Religious Radicalism and Antislavery Thought, I
Davis, "Religious Sources of Antislavery Thought: Quakers and the Sectarian Tradition," 291-332 (Shared Files, MyJCU)
John Woolman, “Journal,” Excerpts (Shared Files, MyJCU)
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2

 

Oct. 29             Persistent Shadows:  The Enlightenment and Slavery
Steele, The Spectator No. 11 “Inkle and Yarico”
Condorcet, “Dedicatory Epistle to the Negro Slaves” 
Encyclopédie, “Negroes (Trade)” and “Negroes”
Raynal, Philosophical and Political History (Excerpts)
Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2


Oct. 31             The Ambivalence of Freedom, I:  The American Revolution and Slavery
Davis, 141-156 (Chapter 7)
Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
“The Hyper-text Declaration of Independence”
U.S. Constitution, Article I, Sections 2 and 9
“‘Natural and Inalienable Right to Freedom’: Slaves’ Petition for Freedom to the Massachusetts Legislature, 1777”
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2 

 

Nov. 5           The Ambivalence of Freedom, II:  The French and Haitian Revolutions and Slavery
Davis, 157-174 (Chapter 8)
“Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” 
“Toussaint Louverture's Constitution of 1801”
Toussaint Louverture's “Dictatorial Proclamation” (1801)
“Haitian Declaration of Independence”
Documents on the Haitian Revolution and French and American Responses (Handout) 
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Last Possible Due Date for Reaction Paper 2 

Nov. 7     Slavery as a Problem in the Antebellum U.S.
Davis, 176-204 (Chapters 9-10)
Calhoun, "Slavery as a Positive Good"
Fitzhugh, Cannibals All (excerpts)
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
Draft of Final Paper Due


Nov. 12     Slave Revolts and Antislavery
Davis, 205-230 (Chapter 11)
Gray, The Confessions of Nat Turner (excerpts)
"Reactions to Nat Turner's Revolt"
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files

Nov. 14     Comparing British and U.S. Abolitionism--Same Problem, Different Solutions?
Davis, 231-267 (Chapters 12-13)
Heyrick, Immediate not Gradual Abolition (excerpts)
Garrison, "No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery"
Sojourner Truth, "Speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio"
Hathaway, "Preface from Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave"
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files
 

Nov. 19     The Problem from a Slave’s Point of View, I
Douglass, TBA

Nov. 21      The Problem from a Slave’s Point of View, II
Douglass, TBA
Reaction Paper 3 Due

Nov. 26     The U.S. Civil War and Emancipation: The End of the Problem?
Davis, 268-331 (Chapters 14-15, Epilogue)
Lincoln, "House Divided Speech"
"The Emancipation Proclamation"
U.S. Constitution, 13th-15th Amendments
All of the Above Selections Are Available From MyJCU Course Shared Files

 

Dec. 3 and Dec. 5  Screening of Lars von Trier’s Manderlay (To Be Scheduled)
Final Draft of Paper Due--December 5 

 


Final Exam--TBA (Final Exam Period December 9-13)