HIST 5364-012
Fall 2021

Instructor Information

  1. Instructor: John Garrigus; website: http://johngarrigus.com
  2. Office: University Hall 343
  3. History Department Office Telephone: 817-272-2661
  4. Email: garrigus@uta.edu
  5. Faculty Profile: https://mentis.uta.edu/explore/profile/john-garrigus
  6. Student Office Hours: Mondays, 3pm to 5:30pm on Microsoft TEAMS or in person in University Hall 343. If this time doesn’t work, email me to schedule a phonecall
  7. Canvas: http://uta.instructure.com

Course Information

Time and Place of Class Meetings

University Hall 13, Monday nights from 7pm to 9:50pm. Twice we will meet on-line class, using Microsoft TEAMS. Those dates are Monday, October 11 and Monday, November 22. If UTA shifts face-to-face instruction on-line, we will conduct class discussion Mondays using TEAMS.


This course follows Caribbean history from early Spanish colonization through the Haitian Revolution and the end of slavery in the British West Indies. As we investigate the region’s pirates, plantations, and freedom fighters, we will read recent scholarly books and interrogate primary sources to answer major questions that historians have posed about the early modern Caribbean.

We study early modern Caribbean history because it was central to world history. It was a key site for the emergence of imperialism, multicultural societies, new kinds of institutions, diseases, capitalism, industrial production, slave labor, and scientific racism. At the same time, it was an area where different types of people fought against these forces and sometimes won, most notably in the Haitian Revolution.

Besides world-changing, but under-appreciated events, early modern Caribbean history offers us a way to understand how people have written and continue to write the history of a region where there is so much inequality, and where most people had no way to leave records of their experience for their descendants. As we study the early modern Caribbean, we will investigate the kinds of documents that survive from that place and time, and build our own skills in understanding how the world works.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify major Caribbean countries on a map. This will be assessed on a map quiz.
  2. Students describe and assess different interpretations of Caribbean history (assessed in class discussions, presentations, and papers)
  3. Students use primary sources to support and challenge historical interpretations (assessed in class discussions, presentations, and papers)

Required Books

  1. Carrie Gibson, Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day, (Grove Press, 2015)
  2. David Wheat, Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 (Chapel Hill, N.C: University of North Carolina Press, 2016)
  3. Marcus Rediker, Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press, 2005)
  4. Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Harvard University Press, 2007)
  5. Simon P. Newman, A New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)
  6. Vincent Brown, Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War ( Harvard University Press, 2020).
  7. Randy M. Browne, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)
  8. Jeremy D. Popkin, You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery ( Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Major Assignments

Map quiz

For class on [2021-09-13 Mon], I’ll give you a list of ten countries and a blank map of the Caribbean. I’ll ask you to identify those countries, together with the main European language spoken there.

Primary Source Assignments

Four times this semester you’ll compile a primary source package, consisting of two Microsoft Word files. One of the files will contain a primary source document and another will have your analysis of that document.

To complete the assignment, find a primary source that sheds light on one of the big questions raised in the assigned reading for the previous week. Scan or type the document into Word, turn on Track Changes, and edit it down to 500 words for in-class use. Write a 100-word “headnote” introducing the source, and a footnote giving the bibliographic information. Email me the file before class. I’ll distribute copies to our class and give you 20 minutes to lead a discussion about your source.

Also before class, write 500 words describing which questions you think your source addresses and how it answers them. What new questions does it raise? How does it complicate the issue? Upload this second Word file to Canvas, so I can grade it.

These primary source assignments are due [2021-09-27 Mon], [2021-10-11 Mon], [2021-11-01 Mon], and [2021-11-29 Mon].

Historiography Papers

You’ll write two historiography papers before the end of the semester. One will be about our readings from David Wheat and is due on Canvas [2021-09-13 Mon]. The other paper will be about the books by Simon Newman and Randy Browne, due on Canvas [2021-11-22 Mon].

Final Paper

At the end of the semester, you’ll write a historiographic review essay about the books we have read this semester. It is due on Canvas [2021-12-13 Mon].


I take weekly grades on your participation in our class discussions.

Grading Policy

At the end of the semester, students who have accumulated 900 or more points will receive a “A”; 800 to 899 is a “B”; 700 to 799 is a “C”; and 600 to 699 is “D”. Less than 600 points is a failing grade.

Assignment Points
Map quiz 20
4 primary source assignments 180
Historiography paper 1 140
Historiography paper 2 160
Final historiography paper 400
Discussion 100
TOTAL 1000


Week 0: [2021-08-16 Mon] [do this before week 1]

  • Read Gibson, Chapters 1 and 2

Week 1: [2021-08-30 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Gibson and primary sources on Columbus
  • For week 2: Read Wheat, Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean

Week 2: [2021-09-06 Mon] No Class: Labor Day Holiday

  • [2021-09-10 Fri] 4pm to 5pm, optional on-line discussion of Wheat using Microsoft Teams
  • For week 3: Write historiography paper on Wheat, Atlantic Africa

Week 3: [2021-09-13 Mon]

  • In class: Map quiz; discuss Wheat and historiography; paper due on Canvas
  • For week 4: Read Rediker, Villains of All Nations

Week 4: [2021-09-20 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Rediker, Villains of All Nations
  • For week 5: Go to Using Personal Accounts as Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • For week 5: Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise for personal accounts; take the “Unpacking” quiz in Canvas
  • For week 5: Assignment on pirates and primary sources

Week 5: [2021-09-27 Mon]

  • In Class: Discuss pirates and primary sources
  • For week 6: Read Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery

Week 6: [2021-10-04 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery
  • For week 7: Go to Using Official Documents as Primary Sources; read “Getting Started,” “Questions to Ask,” “Sample Analysis”
  • For week 7: Complete “You Be the Historian” exercise for official documents; take the “Unpacking” quiz on Canvas
  • For week 7: Assignment on Transatlantic Slave Trade Database and Primary Sources

Week 7: [2021-10-11 Mon] Columbus Day: meet via Teams at 7pm

  • In class: Discuss Slave Trade and primary sources
  • For week 8: Read Newman, New World of Labor

Week 8: [2021-10-18 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Newman, New World of Labor
  • For week 9: assignment on Newman and historiography

Week 9: [2021-10-25 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Newman and historiography
  • For week 10: Read Brown, Tacky’s Revolt

Week 10: [2021-11-01 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Brown, Tacky’s Revolt
  • For week 11: Assignment on primary sources on Tacky’s Revolt

Week 11: [2021-11-08 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss primary sources
  • For week 12: Read R. Browne, Surviving Slavery

Week 12: [2021-11-15 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Browne
  • For week 13: Write historiography paper on Newman and Browne

Week 13: [2021-11-22 Mon] THANKSGIVING week; meet via TEAMS

  • In class: Discuss slavery and historiography
  • Due on Canvas: historiography paper on Newman and Browne
  • For week 14: Read Popkin, You Are All Free

Week 14: [2021-11-29 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Popkin, You Are All Free
  • For week 15: Assignment on primary sources for Haitian Revolution

Week 15: [2021-12-06 Mon]

  • In class: Discuss Haitian Revolution primary sources

Final paper due on Canvas [2021-12-13 Mon]

All procedures and policies in this course are subject to change in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Institutional Information:

UTA students are encouraged to review the below institutional policies and informational sections and reach out to the specific office with any questions. To view this institutional information, please visit the Institutional Information page (https://resources.uta.edu/provost/course-related-info/institutional-policies.php) which includes the following policies among others:

  • Drop Policy
  • Disability Accommodations
  • Title IX Policy
  • Academic Integrity
  • Student Feedback Survey
  • Final Exam Schedule


At The University of Texas at Arlington, taking attendance is not required. Rather, each faculty member is free to develop his or her own methods of evaluating students’ academic performance, which includes establishing course-specific policies on attendance. As the instructor of this on-line course, I use the quizzes and discussion assignments to gauge your active involvement in the class but I do not have a separate attendance grade.

Academic Integrity:

Students enrolled in all UT Arlington courses are expected to adhere to the UT Arlington Honor Code:

I pledge, on my honor, to uphold UT Arlington’s tradition of academic integrity, a tradition that values hard work and honest effort in the pursuit of academic excellence.

I promise that I will submit only work that I personally create or contribute to group collaborations, and I will appropriately reference any work from other sources. I will follow the highest standards of integrity and uphold the spirit of the Honor Code.

UT Arlington faculty members may employ the Honor Code as they see fit in their courses, including (but not limited to) having students acknowledge the honor code as part of an examination or requiring students to incorporate the honor code into any work submitted. Per UT System Regents’ Rule 50101, §2.2, suspected violations of university’s standards for academic integrity (including the Honor Code) will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Violators will be disciplined in accordance with University policy, which may result in the student’s suspension or expulsion from the University. Additional information is available at https://www.uta.edu/conduct/.

Academic Success Center:

The Academic Success Center (ASC) includes a variety of resources and services to help you maximize your learning and succeed as a student at the University of Texas at Arlington. ASC services include supplemental instruction, peer-led team learning, tutoring, mentoring and TRIO SSS. Academic Success Center services are provided at no additional cost to UTA students. For additional information visit: Academic Success Center. To request disability accommodations for tutoring, please complete this form.

Student Support Services:

UT Arlington provides a variety of resources and programs designed to help students develop academic skills, deal with personal situations, and better understand concepts and information related to their courses. Resources include tutoring, major-based learning centers, developmental education, advising and mentoring, personal counseling, and federally funded programs. For individualized referrals, students may visit the reception desk at University College (Ransom Hall), call the Maverick Resource Hotline at 817-272-6107, send a message to resources@uta.edu, or view the information at http://www.uta.edu/universitycollege/resources/index.php.

Emergency Phone Numbers:

In case of an on-campus emergency, call the UT Arlington Police Department at 817-272-3003 (non-campus phone), 2-3003 (campus phone). You may also dial 911. The non-emergency number is 817-272-3381.