Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

This module is inactive in the selected year. The information shown below is for the academic year that the module was last running in, prior to the year selected.

2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3396 The Hidden Atlantic: Pirates, Sailors, and the Slave Traders, 1807-1867

40 creditsClass Size: 9

Module manager: Professor Manuel Barcia Paz

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Between 1807 and 1867, in spite of increasing pressures to bring the transatlantic slave trade to an end, millions of Africans were forced to cross the Atlantic Ocean to work as slaves in the cities and plantations of the New World. Europe, Africa and the Americas were heavily involved in this human trafficking. Major demographic and cultural changes took place as a result. It was during this period that most of Latin America shook off the chains of colonialism, just as a first scramble for spheres of influences in West and West Central Africa took place. In this module, men, women and children from different continents will be presented within this Atlantic milieu, in a new light, with the intention of exploring their contributions to this increasingly globalised environment. The period considered here under the 'Age of Abolition', spans for six decades, between 1807, when Britain abolished and began an international crusade against the slave trade, and 1867, when the slave trade was finally abolished in the Atlantic. The module is designed to introduce students to the history of the Atlantic world as a stand-alone subject, by focusing on the history of the people without history, the anonymous actors that shaped the Atlantic during the Age of Abolition. Drawing from the foundational works of historians such as Marcus Rediker, Peter Linebaugh and Michael Zeuske, who have redefined the Hidden Atlantic in recent years, the module will go beyond national and local historical narratives integrating little known facts and events into the mainstream history of the Atlantic World.


In this research-intensive module students will learn about the day-to-day life of Atlantic actors, in particular those who have remained in the shadows of history. Students will also have the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the transatlantic slave trade upon the European, African and American societies upon which the module focuses.
Due to the span of time covered, they will be able to critically assess different historical issues and moments and to choose particular topics while writing their coursework
Students will have the opportunity to work critically with nineteenth-century primary sources and will examine, from a comparative perspective, the potential of a variety of secondary and primary sources. They will also develop their comparative skills by developing a truly trans-Atlantic analytical framework. Additionally, the module will give students an opportunity to learn to work with online databases.
Their writing, research and oral skills will also be developed through class presentations, the analysis of original documents, and one final essay.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. comment critically on the primary sources they have studied.
2. compare different kinds of historical sources and discuss how historians have used them.
3. work with online databases and produce reports and critical pieces of written work
4. present researched materials confidently
5. write critically and clearly, engaging with the primary and secondary sources provided
6. carry out independent research, including the identification and examination of other primary and secondary sources


1. Introduction I. Atlantic History: Paradigms and Concepts
2. Introduction II. Abolitions, Revolutions and the Second Slavery
3. Technical check: TAST; Oral presentations; Working with, VLE use
4. The "Illegal" Hidden Atlantic
5. Cultural Encounters, Contact Zones and Economies of Supply
6. European Ports
7. African Ports
8. American Ports
9. Slave Trading Networks
11. The Atlantic Beyond the Atlantic
10. Atlantic Creoles
12. Translators, Interpreters, and Civil and Military Officers
13. Ship Crews, Shipbuilders, etc.
14. Gender and Race in the Hidden Atlantic
15. Missionaries and Travellers
16. Surgeons, Doctors and Medical Practitioners
17. Piracy and Contraband
18. Ecology and Recycling in the Hidden Atlantic
19. Insurers, Manufacturers, Bills, Banks, etc.
20. From Hidden to Public Atlantic I
21. From Hidden to Public Atlantic II
22. Conclusions

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours352.00
Total Contact hours48.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Students will be given guided reading for each seminar and encouraged to undertake self-directed reading. Students will prepare independently for both written assessment and for their class presentations.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Office hours, feedback sessions, feedback sheets and forms, seminar discussion

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of Exam Week 2 semester 140.00
Presentation2 oral presentations, to take place weekly throughout the course10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 3 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019