This course introduces students to the growing field of women, gender, race, and slavery in the Atlantic world. Though we will begin with the article-length studies of enslaved women that characterized the field in the 1970s and 1980s, the course is primarily organized around exploring the recent growth in monograph histories of enslaved women. Moving from studies of women on the West African coast to examinations of slave societies and women’s labor from New England to Latin America and the Caribbean, the course will ask students to consider gender as social history, as a theory of slavery, and as a rubric through which to consider the Atlantic world. We will carefully consider the nature of slavery’s archives, of the particular challenges posed to scholars of gender and enslavement, and of the sometimes interdisciplinary research methods employed to write histories of enslaved women. Throughout, we will attend to questions rooted in histories of labor, of capitalism, and of sex and reproduction.
In this seminar, students pursue independent research projects while meeting as a class to discuss research challenges as represented both by their own research and in common readings.