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UNIT 14: Land and Labor Relationships

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, "Commerce and Change: The Creation of a Global Economy and the Expansion of Europe," in In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998), 491–508.

Abstract: This essay explores the creation of an Atlantic economy based on sugar and slaves. It details the ways in which labor-intensive and lucrative sugar production led to a marked rise in the demand for slaves from Africa after the seventeenth century. In addition to focusing on the economic aspects of the sugar/slave system, this essay also examines the human experience of the slave trade, its effects on African communities, and the ways it was resisted.

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Reading 2

Markus Vink, "The World's Oldest Trade": Dutch Slavery and Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century," Journal of World History 14, no. 2 (2003):131–77.

Abstract: This article discusses various aspects of slavery and the slave trade of the Dutch East India Company in the Indian Ocean world: the markets of supply and demand or geographic origins and destinations of slaves; the routes to slavery or the diverse means of recruitment of forced labor; the miscellaneous occupations performed by company and private slaves; the size of Dutch slavery and the volume of the accompanying annual slave trade; and the various forms of slave resistance and slave revolt. The discussion transcends the ahistorical, incomplete, descriptive, static, one-dimensional picture and conventional generalized abstractions of slavery that characterize much of traditional scholarship. Instead, an alternative historicized, holistic, analytical, dynamic, multidimensional, and open model is suggested—one that is sensitive to chronological and geographic variations, socioeconomic and political contexts, and cross-cultural interactions.

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Reading 3

Anand Yang, "Indian Convict Workers in Southeast Asia in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Journal of World History 14, no. 2 (2003): 179–208.

Abstract: South Asian convicts transported to Southeast Asia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were part of a global system of forced migration. Together with slaves and bonded and indentured laborers, they helped settle and colonize the overseas European empires. No wonder, then, that recent writings have designated them as "convict workers," an emphasis that shifts attention away from their earlier characterization as "professional and habitual criminals" to highlight their actual lived experiences in the penal settlements. Indeed, Indian "convict workers" filled a critical need for labor in Southeast Aisa, playing an especially significant role in carrying out the public works projects that were so essential to the establishment and consolidation of the British Empire in the region. This convict system came to an end in the late nineteenth century.

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