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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Edinburgh's Slavery Connections: Research Seminar (PGHC11486)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis research based course involves students in developing new historical knowledge about an issue of pressing contemporary concern: the connection between Edinburgh, as university and city, to the Atlantic slavery-based economy. After an initial period of reading, students will conduct guided research in local archives on original topics related to relationship between Edinburgh University or Edinburgh as a city and slavery. Students will also produce summaries of their research oriented to a public audience, which they will be encouraged to make available to the public through a website.
Course description How was Edinburgh-- as city and as University--connected to Atlantic slavery? This course develops students' research skills through designing and carrying out their own research project related to an aspect of this increasingly prominent and political question. After a few weeks focused on reading relevant secondary literature, students will propose a project and conduct original primary research, with guidance from the course organisers. Possible topics include: connections between University funders and donors and Atlantic slavery; the role of the University in the development of racist and anti-racist thought; the role of the University's graduates in the Atlantic economy; connections between Edinburgh residents and slavery; the anti-slavery movement in Edinburgh and its surroundings; memorialisation and forgetting of Edinburgh's connections to slavery since abolition. As well as writing a traditional research paper, students will be expected to contribute to a public website and to present their research at a culminating conference.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  7
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 18, Fieldwork Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One research proposal (500 words): 10%

One final paper 4000 words, based on a conference paper delivered at the course conference in week 11: 80%

One blog post, podcast, or other approved contribution to website (500 words or equivalent): 10%
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in essay and website contribution a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge relating to the history of slavery and its relationship to Scotland.
  2. Demonstrate in research proposal, essay, and website contribution an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the history of slavery and its relationship to Scotland.
  3. Demonstrate in research proposal, essay and website contribution the ability to define and research an original historical problem, and to work autonomously towards this goal.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminars discussions, conference presentation and contribution to website.
  5. Demonstrate through seminar participation, the construction of a team website and participation in the conference the ability to collaborate with others, to evaluate the work of others, originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity.
Reading List
Stephen Mullen and Simon Newman, 'Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow: Report and Recommendations of the University of Glasgow History of Slavery Steering Committee' (Glasgow University, 2018),

The Georgetown Slavery Archive,

The Princeton & Slavery Project,

University of North Carolina, 'Slavery and the Making of the University',

University of Virginia, President's Commission on Slavery and the University, website and report

Tom Devine, ed., Recovering Scotland's Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015)

Finlay McKichan, Lord Seaforth: Highland Landowner, Caribbean Governor (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018)

Stephen Mullen, It Wisnae Us: The Truth about Glasgow and Slavery (Edinburgh: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, 2009)

Silvia Sebastiani, The Scottish Enlightenment: Race, Gender, and the Limits of Progress (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Iain Whyte, Scotland and the Abolition of Black Slavery (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006)

James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

Alfred L. Brophy, University, Court, and Slave: Proslavery Academic Thought and Southern Jurisprudence, 1831-1861 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Diana Paton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4578
Course secretaryMs Cristina Roman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4577
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