July 15 – 21, 2012 Location: University of Maryland Seminars


Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor of History, University of Maryland


The ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865 abolished slavery in the United States, formally, officially, and legally. A century and a half after emancipation, however, the question of slavery still roils the waters of American life. This seminar, led by Ira Berlin, will view the development of chattel bondage in mainland North America from the perspective of the larger Atlantic world. Topics include the nature of the slave trade, the distinction between societies with slaves and slave societies, the evolution of plantation slavery, the transforming face of the Age of Revolutions, the remaking of slavery in the nineteenth century, and the current debate about the meaning of slavery for American life.

Please find below important information regarding North American Slavery in Comparative Perspective.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include: 

Berlin, Ira. Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Curtin, Philip. The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Ed. by David W. Blight. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Tannenbaum, Frank. Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. New York: Vintage Books, 1946.

Travel & Accomodations

The University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, is located just ten miles from Washington, DC. There are several ways to travel to the University. Travelers coming by air have a choice of Reagan Washington National (DCA), Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), and Washington Dulles (IAD). Super Shuttle will take you from any of these locations to the campus starting at around $30 (slightly more if you are coming from Washington Dulles) with an added fee for each additional passenger. Amtrak provides service to Washington, DC's Union Station. If you plan to reach the campus by car the University of Maryland offers directions as well as maps of the campus.

Workshop participants will be housed in university dormitories. These dormitories are organized in suites; participants will have their own bedrooms but will share a common area and bathroom. Linens will be provided, but you may want to include extras on your own. Air conditioning in the dorms can be quite cold; we recommend that you bring extra layers or an extra blanket. Some participants choose to bring laptops. All the dorm rooms are wired for internet service and most of the campus is wireless accessible.


A continental breakfast will be served in the Maryland Room on most days. University Meal Deal cards will be provided for lunches and dinners, with the exception of boxed lunches and shared meals. Meal Deal cards function as debit cards for specific local eateries (a list of which will be provided, along with restaurant coupons, upon arrival). Most restaurants are located on Route 1 in College Park, within walking distance of the dorms and the Maryland Room.

Travel reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.

Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses.

Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State College to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers.

Teachers are required to submit a reaction paper and a copy of one primary source activity completed during or immediately after the seminar.

Teachers will also be given an opportunity to take additional online and distance coursework that counts toward an MA in History from Adams State College.

Enroll and learn more about the course.
For more details, please contact: Edward R. Crowther, Ph.D.

To ensure that your credit appears on your transcript as summer-term class work, you must enroll by August 3, 2012.


E-mail the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.



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