Surviving and Resisting Enslavement in the British Caribbean HIST4289

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course examines the rise of plantation slavery, its operation, demise, and legacies in the British Caribbean. It investigates how race, gender, disability, and sexuality has shaped the experiences of both the enslaved peoples and European enslavers. It discusses the cultural backgrounds of the African captives, the resistance and survival strategies in the region and the legacies of slavery in Britain, including how Caribbean enslavement enriched Europe, with a particular focus on Scotland, calls for reparations, and the Windrush scandal. It focuses on the centrality of the Caribbean in global transformations, and introduces the sources and methodologies that are used to understand these processes.


Three hours of seminar time per week over 20 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running in the current session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in History.

Excluded Courses





Two Examinations (2-hour duration) - 20% each

Two Essay (2,500 words each) - 20% each

Two Seminar Presentations (10 minutes) accompanied by PowerPoint slides - 6% each

Two written responses (300 words) to peer seminar presentations, initially delivered orally as part of a 'discussant' role - 4% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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:

■ Introduce students to the historiographical debates concerning survival and resistance in the British Caribbean;

■ Provide students with a critical understanding of the backgrounds, experiences and cultural practices of enslaved Africans;

■ Enable students to analyse, synthesize and evaluate primary documents and secondary materials; 

■ Enhance oral presentation skills.

■ Give students the opportunity to develop key transferable skills

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Examine the rise of plantation slavery, its operation, and abolition in the British Caribbean;

■ Illustrate how race, gender, disability, and sexuality have shaped enslavement;

■ Discuss the ways in which enslaved peoples resisted and survived enslavement;

■ Examine the cultural legacies of enslaved peoples;

■ Engage with the legacies of slavery in Britain, including contemporary issues such as the Windrush scandal and calls for reparations.

■ Critically analyse, synthesize and evaluate primary documents and secondary materials.

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.