International Slavery Studies MA

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2022
  • Entry requirements: You should normally have a BA in History or a related discipline (2:1 or above, or international equivalent).
two students looking at a museum exhibit

Module details

The programme contains core modules in the development of research skills and methods, dedicated modules for the historical and modern slavery pathways, and a dissertation in slavery and unfree labour. This allows you to engage with a range of professional activities and learning, alongside developing your awareness of research methodologies and theoretical approaches.

In semester one, you are introduced to a broad, advanced understanding of slavery and unfree labour so that you are aware of the issues involved in studying slavery at postgraduate level, as well as advanced research methods to develop an advanced understanding of relevant research methods according to your selected pathway. In the second semester, you are introduced to an advanced understanding of your chosen pathways so you are able to position your chosen specialism within a broader context.

There is a dissertation preparation module and also a choice from a range of optional modules including a project-based work placement co-taught with our non-academic partners. You will work throughout the year with your supervisors to develop your awareness of the concepts and controversies at the centre of your chosen pathway and dissertation topics. By doing so you will be able to craft an advanced awareness of slavery and unfree labour through a diverse yet intellectually cohesive programme of learning.

* Information provided above is indicative and changes may be made according to programme development and teaching availability.

Compulsory modules

International Slavery Dissertation (HLAC599)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To enable the student to complete a piece of original research to high academic standards.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) The ability to develop a reasoned and well-structured argument based on an assessment of both the available evidence and existing scholarly views.

(LO2) Completing a major piece of independent research.

(S1) Demonstrate understanding of the evolution of different models of record keeping theory and practice though awareness of the impact of different political, historical and cultural traditions on record-keeping theory and practice

(S2) Expertise in identifying and deploying appropriate evidence to support analysis and conclusions.

International Slavery Dissertation Proposal (HLAC500)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The feasibility study is designed to ensure that the topic chosen for the dissertation can be undertaken successfully.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An ability to interpret and evaluate a diverse range of data, case studies, or primary sources, as appropriate to the chosen disciplinary specialism.

(LO2) M-Level academic skills, demonstrated through task-based activities including compiling a bibliography, writing and discussing essays, adopting correct citation practice, leading workshops and giving oral presentations

(LO3) An ability to develop arguments that systematically and creatively organize, synthesize and present large bodies of evidence and scholarship clearly in written or oral form.

(S1) Skills of written communication and rational argument, drawing on appropriate disciplinary methods.

(S2) Expertise in identifying and deploying appropriate evidence to support analysis and conclusions.

Studying Slavery: Themes and Concepts (HLAC520)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To introduce students to a range of theoretical, contextual and definitional frameworks for researching slavery across a range of disciplinary fields;

To encourage students to consider the range of theoretical and methodological approaches which they could adopt in approaching subsequent modules in their chosen pathway and their individual research project;

To allow students to understand slavery studies as an interdisciplinary field of enquiry in which a range of methods and approaches are essential;

To provide students with an awareness of the key theoretical and practical issues central to slavery studies, and to develop in them an understanding of current methodologies and approaches;

To develop students' familiarity with historical and contemporary contexts for slavery and introduce them to potential areas for specialisation;

To introduce comparative concepts and ideas of "slavery", "freedom" and "forced labour" for students reflecting on their context in very different historical, social and geographical contexts;

To allow staff and students to benefit from ambitious and broad discussion of slavery as a concept beyond discrete research contexts.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) A systematic knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of key themes and approaches in the study of slavery and unfree labour across a range of different contexts.

(LO2) An ability to engage with current methodological and theoretical debates appropriate to MA level in an informed, analytical and critical manner.

(LO3) The acquisition of practical academic skills, demonstrated through task-based activities including preparing a presentation, writing and discussing essays, adopting correct citation practice, producing a reflective journal.

(LO4) The acquisition of research-related skills such as literature searches across a range of disciplinary fields, formulating and evaluating research questions and strategies, and the critical reading of texts and other relevant material.

(LO5) An ability to develop arguments that systematically and creatively organize, synthesize and present material from across a variety of disciplinary fields.

(S1) Good time-keeping and readiness to accept responsibility.

(S2) Team-working, respect for others reasoned views, flexibility and adaptability.

(S3) Gathering, analysing and organising information.

(S4) Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of written expression.

(S5) Positive attitude, appropriate assertiveness, initiative and self-direction.

(S6) Planning and organisational skills.

(S7) Understanding, intellectual integrity and being sensitive to different cultures and contexts.

Optional modules

Decolonizing Research Methods: An Introduction (POLI520)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To gain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary debates about the decolonization of methods across a range of disciplinary fields;

To analyze assumptions about how power and discourse affect what we select as problems for research;

To gain understanding of the relationship between the researcher and those being researched;

To be able to identify decolonizing theories and concepts from the social sciences as appropriate to their subsequent dissertation work.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An ability to engage with current theoretical debates relating to decolonization appropriate to MA level in an informed, analytical and critical manner.

(LO2) Show an understanding of the issues faced by researchers when seeking to decolonize research methods.

(LO3) The acquisition of practical academic skills, demonstrated through task-based activities including writing and discussing essays, adopting correct citation practice, leading workshops and giving oral presentations.

(LO4) Critically evaluate from a decolonial perspective the use of theory and practice in framing research questions.

(LO5) Show an understanding of the sources and methodological approach(es) appropriate to specific research topics.

(LO6) Show an awareness of ethical issues in decolonizing research.

(S1) Confidence, independence of mind and time-management.

(S2) Good time-keeping and readiness to accept responsibility.

(S3) Respect for others’ reasoned views, flexibility and adaptability.

(S4) Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of spoken expression.

(S5) Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of written expression.

Historical Research (HIST507)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To be able to identify theories and concepts from the social sciences, or from literary or gender studies, as appropriate to their subsequent dissertation work. In addition, graduate students of history need to develop a broad understanding of the nature of the primary sources available to historians in their chosen fields of study, and the range of methodological approaches used in interrogating these primary sources. This module addresses the location of primary sources and their accessibility, the various strategies devised by historians for analysing them, and the ethical issues raised in the pursuit of historical research. It is designed to enable you to identify, where appropriate, a range of primary sources relating to the field of your proposed dissertation topic in Semester two.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An ability to engage with current historiographical and theoretical debates appropriate to MA level in an informed, analytical and critical manner.

(LO2) Show an understanding of the issues faced by historians when using primary sources.

(LO3) The acquisition of practical academic skills, demonstrated through task-based activities including compiling a bibliography, writing and discussing essays, adopting correct citation practice, leading workshops and giving oral presentations.

(LO4) Critically evaluate historians’ use of theory in framing research questions.

(LO5) Show an understanding of the sources and methodological approach(es) appropriate to specific research topics.

(LO6) Show an awareness of ethical issues in historical research

(LO7) An ability to develop arguments that systematically and creatively organize, synthesize and present clearly large bodies of historical and literary material in written and oral form.

(S1) Confidence, independence of mind and time-management

(S2) Good time-keeping and readiness to accept responsibility

(S3) Team-working, respect for others reasoned views, flexibility and adaptability

(S4) Structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of written expression

International Record Keeping (HIST561)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Demonstrate understanding of the evolution of different models of record keeping theory and practice though awareness of the impact of different political, historical and cultural traditions on record-keeping theory and practice;  

Evaluate record keeping theory and practice in his/her own country in the light (1) and identify any professional ethical issues deriving from those circumstances;

Evaluate the role and effectiveness of international organisations and development agencies;

Discuss issues surrounding globalisation and human rights and analyse the professional ethical issues which may be part of these;  

Analyse the problems relating to the application of national and international standards: the convergence and divergence in theories and practices and the centrality of language and translation;

Demonstrate informed understanding of professional debates surrounding globalisation and human rights.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) An awareness of texts, authors and debates relevant to the module and an ability to assess the associated ideas, arguments and contribution in relation to theory and practice.

(LO2) An improved ability to describe, contextualise and offer explanations for the complexity and diversity of events, practices and mentalities in areas relevant to the module.

(LO3) Appropriate knowledge of the professional context of record-keeping, including awareness of relevant professional bodies and government and international agencies and their impact on record-keeping practice, and the relationship between record-keeping and other related professions.

(LO4) Appropriate knowledge of the legal, regulatory and organisational environments of record-keeping and their impact on records creation and record-keeping practice.

(LO5) Deeper appreciation of the value of records and their management to support legal, financial, political and cultural functions in personal, organisational, community and/or societal contexts relevant to the scope of the module.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - oral

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S3) Global citizenship - Cultural awareness

(S4) Global citizenship - Ethical awareness

Modern Slavery, Forced Labour and Human Rights (POLI521)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop students’ familiarity with contemporary examples of human exploitation analogous with slavery;

To develop students’ analysis of current practice and assist them in drawing reasoned conclusions for future action;

To contribute to the process of developing anti-slavery and anti-trafficking strategies, amongst governments and NGOs, and raising awareness of issues related to their development;

To develop students’ analytical understanding of contemporary debates about anti-slavery and anti-trafficking policy and legislation;

To allow staff and students to benefit from ambitious and broad discussion of slavery and unfree labour as a concept from contemporary perspectives, beyond discrete research contexts

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Analyze theoretical approaches to contemporary forms of ‘slavery’ and human exploitation.

(LO2) Evaluate the role of scholarly concepts, rhetorical analogies, legal definitions and national or international legislation in identifying and eliminating forms of modern ‘slavery’.

(LO3) Formulate conclusions regarding the role of current policy and practice and the potential for future development in a specific area of voluntary, legislative or enforcement efforts to end contemporary ‘slaveries’.

(S1) Information skills - information accessing (locating relevant information; identifying and evaluating information sources).

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - critical analysis.

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - synthesis.

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - presentation skills - written.

(S5) Communication (oral, written and visual) - presentation skills – oral.

Representing Slavery (MODL515)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop students' familiarity with historical contexts of slavery and introduce them to potential areas for specialisation;

To engage students in the critical examination of historical representations as sources for our understanding of slaveries and also the purposes for which representations of slavery have been consumed, received and created;

To engage students in the critical examination of later representations as responses to historical slaveries informed by their creators' contemporary concerns.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of slavery as a conceptual category of analysis and the extent to which it aids our understanding of not only experiences of freedom and "un-freedom" but their representation.

(LO2) Develop appropriate disciplinary skills, becoming familiar with a range of techniques, methods and concepts and apply these in the analysis of slaveries and their legacies.

(LO3) Successfully and confidently construct rational argument, and develop expertise in identifying and deploying appropriate evidence to support analysis and conclusions.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (including referencing skills)

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading

(S6) Information skills - Evaluation

(S7) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S8) Information skills - Information accessing: Locating relevant information and Identifying and evaluating information sources

(S9) Research skills - All Information skills

(S10) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity

Studying Slavery in Practice: Project-based Work Placement (HLAC521)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To engage you in an extended placement and self-directed learning in partnership with an external partner organisation, with which you will complete an agreed project, drawing on original research;

To allow you on the basis of this placement experience to describe and analyse connections between theory, standards and best practice guidance, research and practice;

To provide you with the opportunity to apply the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in the taught modules to an organisational environment;

To assist you to further develop your understanding of the workplace and bridge the gap between academic studies and future employment;

To develop and identify a range of personal / employability skills and to reflect and report on this.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Experience of task-based learning in the field of slavery studies inside a cultural or policy-focused institution.

(LO2) Meaningfully contribution to a practical endeavour (their own assigned task, or as part of a wider team project) related to historical or modern slavery.

(LO3) Demonstration in writing that they have experienced situations in which they have applied academic knowledge to the practical tasks they have been set and completed.

(LO4) Articulation of their learning and critically evaluated their assigned project and their part in it.

(LO5) Understanding the project and its context within other academic and professional work and literature.

(S1) Improving own learning / performance - reflective practice.

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - report writing.

(S3) Communication (oral written and visual) - presentation skills.

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - academic writing (including referencing skills).

(S5) Critical thinking – problem identification.

(S6) Critical thinking – problem solving.

(S7) Critical thinking – critical analysis.

(S8) Time and project management - project management.

(S9) Time and project management – personal organisation.

(S10) Professional awareness - relevant understanding of organisations.

(S11) Improving own learning / performance – personal action planning.

(S12) Improving own learning / performance – reflective practice.

(S13) Personal attributes and qualities – initiative.

(S14) Personal attributes and qualities - resilience.

Transatlantic Slavery: Histories and Afterlives (HIST530)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop students' familiarity with historical contexts for slavery and introduce them to potential areas for specialization;

To develop students' familiarity with curatorial practice and theoretical approaches to the commemoration of slavery in museums and other reflections of public memory;

To develop students’ analytical understanding of contemporary debates about the memorialization of slavery in the built environment and beyond;

To allow staff and students to benefit from ambitious and broad discussion of slavery as a concept in both historical and contemporary perspective, beyond discrete research contexts.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) A sophisticated understanding of slavery as a conceptual category of analysis and the extent to which it aids our understanding of contemporary and historical experiences of freedom and "un-freedom".

(LO2) Appropriate disciplinary skills, becoming familiar with a range of techniques, methods and concepts deployed in the analysis of slaveries and its legacies.

(LO3) Knowledge of "slavery" and its afterlives in a wide variety of historical and contemporary contexts.

(LO4) Analyse theoretical approaches to public history and the commemoration of slavery.

(LO5) Apply scholarly knowledge to the contextual evaluation of an existing interpretation of slavery in a context of public understanding of the phenomenon.

(LO6) Communicate ideas or conclusions to non-academic audiences.

(S1) Skills of written communication and rational argument, drawing on appropriate disciplinary methods.

(S2) Expertise in identifying and deploying appropriate evidence to support analysis and conclusions.

(S3) Confident and constructive oral argument.

(S4) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyze, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture.

(S5) Research management: developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods, applying ethics.