HIST-382 Topics in US History: Unfree labor in the US after 1865
Fall for 2014-2015
Professor James Benton
This number will be used for seminars devoted to specific subjects in the area of American history. Students may take more than one of the courses offered under this number. Each course will be announced in the course schedule and receive its own sub-title.
In Fall 2014 the following course is offered: Unfree labor in the US since 1865 (Professor James Benton):
The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified after the end of the Civil War, ended slavery in the United States. Or... did it? This course will examine forms of coercive labor practices that have existed in American society over the past century and a half. Starting with a summary of the institution of late antebellum slavery in the U.S., students will examine varieties of unfree labor to the present, looking for similarities and differences among groups such as farmers, prisoners, domestics, and sex workers. We will also delve into the record of American government and jurisprudence in its efforts to protect workers from these abuses. The course will conclude with testimonies from contemporary workers who encounter labor abuses on the job. Students will be expected to develop and present critical arguments about the presence of unfree labor after 1865 and its relation to the term of “modern-day slavery.” Among the points we will critique is whether slavery exists in the U.S. in the early twenty-first century; and if so, whether the term “modern-day slavery” or is best applicable in describing forms of unfree labor in contemporary U.S. society.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: