Fall 2023

Slave Resistance in Latin America & the Caribbean

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-280  |  History, as HIST-280  |  Latinx and Latin Amer Studies, as LLAS-280


Russell Lohse (Section 01)


(Offered as BLST 280 [CLA], HIST 280 [LA/TR/TS] and LLAS 280) Slave resistance was caused by slavery itself. In a multitude of ways, from the moment they reached the shores of the Americas, Africans fought against their enslavement. The first slave ship to arrive in the Americas, which came to what is now the Dominican Republic, also brought the Americas' first recorded runaway slave, an African man who freed himself by immediately disappearing into the forest. Within two decades of the European "discovery" of the New World, Africans in Hispaniola had risen up against their masters and threatened the very future of the Spanish conquest. These were just the first of hundreds of slave rebellions that shook Latin America and the Caribbean between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the case of Haiti, the enslaved defeated French, Spanish, and British armies and succeeded in destroying the institution of slavery altogether. As spectacular as rebellions could be, they formed only one of many ways in which enslaved Africans struggled against their oppressors. From Jamaica to Mexico, to Colombia to Brazil, self-liberated slaves fled to indigenous communities or founded their own Maroon settlements, a few of which fought the colonizers for decades and attracted as many as 20,000 African women and men. Many more enslaved people remained in legal bondage and found other ways to resist, including escape, murder, and suicide, but also by less dramatic means such as fighting to defend their own families and cultures. This readings-based course features both secondary and primary sources. Select primary documents will acquaint students with the sources historians use to reconstruct these aspects of the histories of largely non-literate African-descended peoples. In close readings of the historiography of slave resistance, students will discuss and debate the meanings of concepts such as resistance, accommodation, opposition, collaboration, and agency. Students will be evaluated on class participation, a series of weekly reading notes, and two short papers.

Fall semester. Professor Lohse.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Written work, readings

BLST 280 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM SCCE D103
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM SCCE D103


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023