Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This global history course surveys the idea of slavery in theory and practice from the ancient world to the present day. Using case studies based on a specific theme or event, the course explores the culture of servitude and labour relations within the framework of slavery. This course also explores contemporary notions of involuntary servitude and how they relate to the way slavery has been understood in the past.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2021.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Summarise the history of global slavery from ancient times to the present

2. Critically evaluate key historical documents concerning slavery

3. Apply historical research materials relevant to the study of slavery;

4. Formulate and present arguments in written or oral form.


This course examines the history of slavery through the following themes/topics:

  • Beginning in the Ancient World of Greece, Rome and the Near East this course then moves on to slavery in Asia and sub Saharan Africa in the ancient and medieval periods before exploring the idea of slavery in Europe and in North Africa during the middle ages.
  • The discovery of the ‘New World‘ in the Americas follows on from this by exploring debates over the nature of humanity and slavery that occurred in Spain of the 17th century.
  • The course then surveys the rise of Atlantic slavery and the slave societies of the Americas. Plantation life, the middle passage and resistance form a core feature for this part of the course.
  • In the final part of the course we survey slavery in India, China and the Ottoman empire before studying slavery in the twentieth century by looking at phenomena such as blackbirding in Australia, Japanese comfort women and ultimately modern features of slavery in the contemporary world.
  • Finally this course will survey anti-slavery efforts in the 20th century both at a grass roots level and its internationalisation with organs such as the League of Nations and The United Nations.

Assumed knowledge

Successful completion of 20 units of History at 1000 level

Assessment items

Professional Task: Podcast (20%)

Annotated Bibliography: Annotated Bibliography (10%)

Essay: Essay (40%)

Online Learning Activity: Online Learning Activity (10%)

Quiz: Quiz (20%)

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.