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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

LACS 30.10 Slave Societies, Ancient and Modern: Imperial Rome and Brazil

Although slavery has existed in virtually all cultures, scholars of comparative world slavery have identified only five societies in all of human history as “slave societies”: two were in the ancient world (classical Athens, Rome) and three were in the New World (the American South, the Caribbean, Brazil). This course examines slave systems in the ancient and modern worlds comparatively, focusing on Rome and Brazil. In Rome, the emergence of the state, including the development of the concept of the citizen, coincided with the development of the slave society. African slavery in Brazil was introduced soon after the establishment of the colonial government and drew heavily from classical legal definitions. In this course we compare the social and political structures of these two slave systems (high art, popular culture, institutions). We examine how each slave society was legitimated, perpetuated—and ultimately challenged. Specific topics include: the construction of the slave and the emergence of racializing discourse, the slave trade and the commodification of the body, trickster narratives, modern theories of power and domination, resistance and rebellion, and the problem of freedom for previously dominated peoples. Through comparison, students will not only become aware of the similarities and differences between these two slave societies, but will also be better equipped to evaluate slavery as a discourse of power that facilitates a system of domination.


Stewart and Smolin

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:INT or LIT; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


Not offered 17X through 18S