Race and Slavery in the Eighteenth Century British Atlantic World HIST4243

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course students will engage critically with primary sources and historiography in order to develop their understanding of the development of ideas of race and practices of slavery in 18th century Britain and its American and Caribbean colonies. The course will include primary and secondary materials relevant to the beliefs and practices of white slaveholders, as well as the ways in which the enslaved experienced and related to their enslavement.


10x1hr lectures; 10x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options which are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Examination (2-hour duration) - 60%

Essay (2,000 words) - 30%

Seminar presentation of 6 minutes accompanied by a one-page A4 handout - 5%

Seminar contribution - 5%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop detailed knowledge and understanding of ideas about race and slavery in the 18th century British Atlantic World

■ Increase a methodological understanding of how to deal with sources related to race and slavery

■ Develop critical understanding of the beliefs and experiences of enslavers and enslaved alike

■ Enhance understanding of how historians frame historical enquiry, present and support interpretation of past events and experiences, and advance historiographical debate

■ Consolidate research skills and develop reflective understanding of their value in research and writing

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify key aspects of the development of British ideas of race and racism, and their relationship to racial slavery

■ Assess how those who held slaves explained and justified their behaviour, and their treatment of the enslaved

■ Assess the ways in which slavery was experienced by the enslaved, and how they reacted to their situation

■ Critically summarise and contextualise - through written work, oral presentations and debate - a range of historiographical argument, and use them to answer research questions

■ Critically engage - through written work, oral presentations and debate - with debates about the legacy of racial slavery in modern British society and the former British colonies

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.