2020-2021 Catalog

BLST 309 Slavery in the Antebellum South

This course examines the southern region of the antebellum United States as a "slave society," that is, a society in which slavery was central to the region's economy, and in which a powerful slaveholding minority held the reigns of political power. We will examine the rise of a "peculiar" institution of Southern slavery, and the impact of chattel slavery on southern households, political institutions, and cultural practices. How did the institution of slavery shape the lives of Southerners differently, depending on race, class, gender, and geography? In what ways did the centrality of an institutionalized system of human property shape the social relations and lived experiences of enslaved African Americans, common whites, slaveholding planters, and Native Americans of the South? How did these groups of Southerners draw upon religion, violence, and ideologies of sex and race both to challenge and reinforce the Southern social order? Finally, what did the South, as a region, come to mean to other antebellum Americans as sectional conflicts heightened in the 1850's? Students will explore the social and cultural history of the antebellum South through primary documents, first-person narratives, film, fiction, music, and extensive secondary scholarship.


4 units

Cross Listed Courses

HIST 309

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity