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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3790 Gender and Slavery in Latin America, 1580-1888

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Danielle Terrazas Williams

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The archives of Latin America bear witness to the gendered history and violent legacy of slavery. While slavery existed in the region for nearly four centuries, this module primarily focuses on how slavery shaped Iberian empire in the mid- and late colonial periods. With the unification of the Spanish and Portuguese Crowns in 1580, Spain eagerly exploited Portugal’s well-established ports and networks in West and West Central Africa to enslave and forcibly transport hundreds of thousands of people to its American colonies. With the devastation of indigenous populations in the sixteenth century, Spanish rulers turned to the enslavement of Africans (and briefly to Asians) to fill labour demands in mining, agriculture, domestic service, and the skilled urban trades. Considerable attention will be paid to how slavery affected families, identity development, political orientations, and labour systems through the lens of gendered life experiences. Each week students will work with a variety of primary sources, including colonial laws, royal correspondence, slave narratives, court cases, Inquisition cases, parish records, notarial documents, and photographs.


The aim of this module is to interrogate the history of slavery and its gendered experiences in Spanish and Portuguese America, to strengthen knowledge of empire-building in the early modern world, to challenge meanings of resistance, agency, and domination, to develop methodological approaches to written and graphic primary sources, and to critique relevant theoretical and historiographical developments.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have:
1. demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the core stages of the historical trajectory of Iberian slavery in the Americas.
2. Identified, synthesized, critiqued, and constructed advanced historical arguments on the gendered history of slavery in Latin America.
3. Expressed a working proficiency in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to interrogate sources.
4. Apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.


This module may include the following topics: legal culture, slavery, gendered experiences, race, religion, global commodities, family, slave narratives, resistance, freedom, empire, abolition movements

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Researching, preparing and writing assessments (75 hours); undertaking set reading for seminars (54 hours); self-directed reading around the topic (20 hours), reviewing and consolidating notes (21 hours); reflecting on feedback (8 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback will be provided on the primary source analysis in good time before the final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words60.00
Assignment2000 word primary source analysis40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 29/04/2024 16:15:06


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