HISTORY 196 - First Year Seminar in Social Sciences
Section: 002 Slavery's Capitalism: Free and Unfree Labor and the Market in American History
Term: FA 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

What are the historical relationships between slavery and capitalism? What are the legacies of those relationships? In recent years these questions have been live ones. Historical research has traced the role of “slave money” in the founding and development of some of America’s most respected educational institutions—Harvard, Yale, Brown University, the College of William and Mary, Emory, and Georgetown among others. Meanwhile, there is a growing awareness that commodities like iPhones implicate us in global chains of commerce with less-than-free labor at their points of origin while the links between past exploitation and present inequality are thrown into relief by the continuing public debates over reparations.

This first-year seminar focuses on the intertwined histories of American slavery and capitalism, paying particular attention to the experiences of African American subjects. It also serves as a primer for university-level study with class time devoted to skills such as reading for argument; primary versus secondary sources; close reading; digital and online resources; UMich Libraries; project proposals; draft-writing and peer review. Finally, it asks students to bring these skills and resources to bear on a final paper exploring some aspect of the historical relationship between slavery and capitalism. At the end of the semester, students will have gained an understanding of history, not as a static body of facts, but as a dynamic and ongoing process of discovery in which we all can take part.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute seminar discussions per week.

HISTORY 196 - First Year Seminar in Social Sciences
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
6Enrollment Management
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
003 (SEM)
6Enrollment Management
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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