This course is a study of enslaved people and the ways human beings coped with captivity, listening to the voices of the enslaved through audio files, diaries, letters, actions, and silences. Centering the people of slavery rather than viewing them as objects shifts the focus to their commentary on slavery. In addition to listening to enslaved people, students will have the opportunity to engage with some of the most cutting-edge scholarship on the subject. Although the early literature objectified enslaved people and hardly paid attention to their experiences, work published since the Civil Rights Movement and into the twenty-first century offers rich accounts of enslaved life. By approaching the institution of slavery in the United States from the enslaved perspective through firsthand accounts of their experiences, students will have the opportunity to engage a variety of sources including narratives, plantation records, podcasts, short films, and other media. Some of the specific themes addressed include gender, sexuality, region, labor, resistance, pleasure, love, family, and community among the enslaved.
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