Sustainability and Global Environmental Change: Landscape and the Atlantic Slave Trade from Southern Appalachia to the Caribbean Islands
This grant will allow for the development of a team-taught, cross-listed course in History and Environmental Studies that focuses on the environmental impacts of the Atlantic slave trade. Russell Fielding (Environmental Studies) and Matthew Mitchell (History), both first-year faculty members at Sewanee, will team-teach. The class will be split between two semesters, Easter and Summer, with a half-credit session offered during each semester. It will include both seminar and field components. We will propose this course to the CAPC at the beginning of the Advent Semester, 2016, in time for students to register for the half-credit seminar to be held during the Easter Semester. The course will operate at three distances, with regard to the geographical settings discussed. First, we will look at the history of slavery and its associated environmental changes in Southern Appalachia—a lesser-known region in the context of slavery, but one that has gained recent attention since the 2003 publication of Slavery in the American Mountain South by Virginia Tech sociologist, Wilma Dunaway. The next level of inquiry will be the Lower Mississippi Delta, colloquially known (and herein referred to) as the “Deep South,” and a place where the history of plantation-based slavery is well known. In this region, the scene of slaves working in fields to produce cash crops, primarily cotton, was common. Finally we will expand the geographical purview of the course to include slavery in the insular Caribbean—a region where the environment was arguably changed by the slave trade most profoundly. Grant funds support travel to scout a short list of potential field site locations and summer salary in 2015 to design the course.