Digital Assignments, Part 2

As discussed in class, I have decided to use the transatlantic slavery database as a way to incorporate the digital humanities in my Human Traditions course. The amount of information on the site can be daunting for students, so I will use class time to introduce the database and for students to play and see what they discover. I think I will use an entire class session for getting acquainted with the site. At the end of the unit (approximately a month, students will have to write a report about what they find. I will have them investigate a broad question, and their report will have to address this question. For example, I might ask, how did the transatlantic slave trade affect the populations in Africa and Brazil. I will then scaffold assignments to help them get at the broader picture.

Assignment #1: What does the database tell us about where in Africa enslaved peoples came from between 1600 and 1888? What kind of questions should we ask about those places and why people were more likely to be enslaved there? How many people were enslaved and where did they come from?

Assignment #2: Where did people from the Gold Coast most commonly end up at the end of the Middle Passage? Based on what we already read, what kind of people did they encounter when they arrived?

Assignment #3: What periods saw an uptick or a decline in slavery imports to Brazil? What variables do you think led to these changes in slave importations?

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