HIST 274 Ghana and West Africa's Pasts in the Black Atlantic


This course will be coupled with an overnight field trip to the north of the country, the origins for many people who were enslaved and then brought to the Ghanaian coast for transport to the Americas. Student will also visit Cape Coast, the site for two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the “slave castles” Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle. This course provides an introduction to slavery in Ghana and West Africa and the Atlantic slave trade out of West Africa. The course uses Ghana as a window to explore the history and material culture of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in West Africa. It combines lectures, class discussions, documentaries, and field trips to sites of enslavement, slave markets and resistance to slavery and student analysis of contemporary sources. Instead of presenting a comprehensive survey, covering every aspect of this vast subject, this course takes a topical approach by focusing on a selection of themes and issues that are crucial to developing an understanding of slavery in Ghana and West Africa and the slave trade across the Atlantic. Themes to be covered include slavery and nation building in West Africa, African and European agency in slavery and slave trade; slavery and slave trade in framing the social structure of Ghana and West Africa; the legacies of slavery in Ghana and West Africa and the ways in which slavery is remembered in Ghana and West Africa. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to the debilitating effects of slavery and the slave trade on West Africa and on its development.

Degree Requirements