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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Ancient Slavery in Comparative Perspective (ANHI10100)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the history of ancient slavery alongside that of slaving societies across history. Students will explore what the global history of slavery can tell us much about the nature of ancient slavery and, conversely, the ways in which ancient slavery can inform our understanding of slavery as an institution that has plagued humanity throughout its history.
Course description This course is intended as an introduction to the uses of comparative history in the study of ancient societies, specifically with regards to ancient slavery, a sub-field of the discipline in which there have been many notable comparative studies. Each class is based around a particular theme related to the study of slavery, and examines ancient evidence/scholarly debates alongside evidence from and scholarship on a different area of history -- usually from a single society. These weekly comparative case studies are intended to cover large stretches of human history. They range from the Middle East and Africa to Korea and (most frequently) the modern Americas. Alongside articles and book chapters, weekly readings will include a brief overview of the political and social history of each society used as a comparative case study each week. Though not primarily a course on classical reception, the influence of ancient texts on later slave systems, particularly in the Americas, will also occasionally be touched on in class.

Of the skills students will develop on this course listed in the Learning Outcomes and Graduate Attributes sections below, instruction in and experience with comparative history is worth highlighting here. This course will also provide students with some cursory information about ancient slavery in its wider historical context and allow them a unique opportunity to explore (if briefly) other areas of history outside the ancient Mediterranean.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements The course is available to all students who have progressed to Honours.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  24
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
3,500 word essay (50%)

Two-hour final exam (50%)
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.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Make informed contributions to discussions on ancient slavery from the perspective of global history.
  2. Draw historical comparisons between different historical societies, learn when these are useful and when they are not, and understand the importance of appreciating historical context.
  3. Assess and engage critically with complex arguments and the evidence they are based on.
  4. Conduct research independently and translate this research into a coherent argument.
  5. Manage time and plan work schedules effectively.
Reading List
Brown, C. L. and P. D. Morgan (eds.), Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age (New Haven 2006).

Bush, M. L. (ed.), Serfdom and Slavery (London 1996).

Dal Lago, E. and C. Katsari (eds.), Slave Systems, Ancient and Modern (Cambridge 2008).

Hunt, P., Ancient Greek and Roman Slavery (Newark 2017).

Hazareesingh, S., Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture (London 2020).

Fynn-Paul, J. and D. A. Pargas (eds.), Slaving Zones: Cultural Identities, Ideologies, and Institutions in the Evolution of Global Slavery (Boston 2018).

Lenski, N. and C. M. Cameron (eds.), What is a Slave Society? The Practice of Slavery in Global Perspective (Cambridge 2018).

Porter, J. D., "The Archaic Roots of Paternalism: Continuity in Attitudes towards Slaves and Slavery in the Odyssey, Xenophon's Oeconomicus, and Beyond". Greece and Rome 68 (2021): 255-277.

Rosivach, V. J., "Agricultural Slavery in the Northern Colonies and in Classical Athens: Some Comparisons". Comparative Studies in Society and History 35 (1993): 551-567.

Roth, U., Thinking Tools: Agricultural Slavery, Between Evidence and Models (London 2007).

Turley, D., Slavery (Oxford; Malden, MA 2000).

Scheidel, W. and J. Bodel (eds.) After Slavery and Social Death (Malden; Oxford; Chichester 2017).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will provide students with knowledge of slavery and systems of oppression and economic exploitation throughout history and in-depth knowledge of how ancient slavery plays a part in crucial debates on the global history of slavery. Through guided essay research and revision, which will allow students to explore aspects of the course that interest them, they will also develop critical thinking and independent research skills. Their spoken and written communication will also be developed through class participation and assessments.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jason Porter
Course secretaryMr Rob Hutchinson
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