Honors | Comparative Slavery
A360 | 0371 | Assensoh, A


MW 11:15a-12:30p WH111

Comparative Slavery is a specially-designed course to offer detailed
knowledge about several aspects of classical slavery internationally and --
in comparative terms -- very inimical contemporary histo-political incidents
which underscore that some societies are still holding their people in
slave-like bondage. In dealing specifically with diverse cultures, the
course is expected to place an emphasis on different forms of slavery and
bondage, including (1) outright classical slavery; (2) political repressive
actions in various nations that border on slave-like bondage; (4)
infanticide and sale of children in abominable and backward customary or
traditional practices; a(4) such unusual practices as arrests for exercising
one's freedom of speech or association and suffering years of political
detention without being charged or tried in a court of law; (5) the
imposition of the inhumane practice called femal circumcision or Clitoral
mutilation on women in several societies and the reasons for that painful
exercise; and (6) as the The New York Times reported in a June 23, 1998
article titled "Age-Old Curse of Slavery Alive in the Ivory Coast [in
Africa]", 23-year old Ibrahim Diarra, from the West African nation of Mali
was "wet from the rain, exhausted and famished, [as] all he knew was that he
had spent four months working on a plantation somewhere in Ivory Coast in a
job that bore a strong resemblance to slavery. . ." (p.A4). Students will
consequently be helped to have a grasp of the act and the essentials of
studying slavery from the beginnings of the modern world as well as
contemporary acts of slave-like bondage.

Students will have ample scholarly opportunities to compare and contrast
all; forms of pan-slavery or slave-like servitude measures and, with
empirical precision, the students will be able to make their own informed
judgement(s) about these measures, sometimes in their research papers or
through discussions, with the Professor or Associate Instructor (AI) leading
them through lectures in class or seminar-type debates (or discussions)
during the Friday discussion sessions. Consequently, the course --
Comparative Slavery -- will make a wide range of literature or information
available to the students to make their study and research of the
subject-matter for the course very meaningful and enjoyable. In the end,
students will examine post-slavery celebrations and euphoric activities in
Dr. William Wiggins' O Freedom! (1990) and subsequently come to their own
conclusions as whether or not slavery -- as a singular entity or in its
comparative terms and, also, as they have learned in the course -- is still
in existence and strongly alive, minimized, suppressed or totally eradicated
by societal laws. Indeed, students' overall conclusions in the course will
be crucial because, as IU President Myles Brand said very eloquently in his
August 27, 1998 keynote address to freshmen in the IU Assembly Hall
orientation and induction ceremony -- which is reported in The Herald-Times
newspaper of August 28 -- when, inter alia, he emphasized: "At IU, we
believe that our job is not to teach students what to think, but how to
think better [for themselves] . . ." (p.A15). Carefully selected films will
be shown to the students, as an additional way of either elucidating or
emphasizing important histo-political points visually.

Student Requirements:

Every enrolled student is required to attend class sessions on a regular
basis in order to do very well. Indeed, for students to experience maximum
benefits from the course, the assigned readings are also to be done before
the beginning of each class period. Occasionally, the Professor or the AI is
expected to suggest very helpful supplementary readings in addition to texts
listed on this course outline. The perusal or use of such recommending
reading materials is optional and, as a result, students may consult them at
their discretion.

Determination of Points & Final Grades in the Course:

There will be two major written examinations and a short paper.