Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Slavery and Forced Migration in Global Perspective HIST5164

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to the history of slavery and forced migration, c. 1400-1900, giving them a solid grounding in a historiography that has become increasingly global and comparative. In a series of weekly seminars, students will discuss critical pieces of scholarship in the field, paying special attention to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades, nineteenth-century abolition and the subsequent expansion of indentured labour.


10 x 2 hour seminars as scheduled in mycampus

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College Level

Excluded Courses





1 x Review essay (3,000 words) 60%

1 x Seminar presentation: book-review length (10 min) 15%, 1000 words + written book review (1,000 words) 15%

Seminar participation 10%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Engage students in current debates on the history of involuntary labour migrations;

■ Explore concepts and methodologies used in the study of slavery and forced migration;

■ Investigate the causes, organisation and outcomes of the overseas movement of enslaved and indentured workers;

■ Enable students to strengthen their skills as independent researchers through critical engagement with primary and secondary source materials, peer-group discussion and written output.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Distinguish different ways in which the historical movement of enslaved and indentured workers has shaped the modern world;

■ Appraise current trends in the historiography of involuntary migration;

■ Judge different conceptual and methodological approaches to the study of enslavement and forced migration;

■ Apply rigorous critical analysis to specialised secondary literature and relevant primary sources;

■ Compose an original research question and sound historical arguments based on independent research;

■ Translate research findings in a clear, logical and concise form.

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.