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Enslaved Women in the United States, c.1815-61

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor Emily West (University of Reading) explores the experience of enslaved women in the United States during the Antebellum Period (1815-61). In the first module, we provide a broad introduction to the history of slavery in the United States, as well as thinking about the key sources that historians can use to find out about the institution of slavery, and some of the methodological problems associated with these sources. In the second module, we think about the different kinds of work undertaken by enslaved women, before turning in the third module to enslaved women’s wider roles within their families and communities and their resistance to oppression. In the fourth module, we think about the physical and sexual abuse suffered before enslaved women, before moving on in the fifth module to explore the relationship between enslaved women and slave-owning women. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about how life for enslaved women changed during and after the American Civil War.

About the Lecturer

Emily West is Professor of History at the University of Reading. Her research interests centre on issues of race and gender in American history, especially in relation to slavery in the US South. Her recent publications include Enslaved Women in America: From Colonial Times to Emancipation (2014) and Family or Freedom: Free People of Color in the Antebellum South (2012).