The afterlives of slavery/colonialism/empire

Please make use of the attached sources in the essay as this is required (at least 2-3)

Students should analyze the afterlives of slavery/colonialism/empire in one of the following regions: Africa; China and East Asia; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East; Russia and Central Asia; South Asia (as the writer, you are free to pick the area you focus on).

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Each student will choose a theme and a region and write an 8 to 10-page paper (2400-3000 words) that develops a specific argument about a contemporary issue linked to their theme within that region.

The paper must make significant and substantive use of three kinds of sources:

1. Quantitative databases that provide demographic and statistical representations about the region and/or the theme you are exploring

2. Secondary sources drawn from peer-reviewed scholarly articles or monographs (books) rooted in an in-depth study of either the region or the theme written by scholars from disciplines such as history, human geography, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, media and visual studies, women’s studies, etc. These should also include substantive engagement with at least two texts assigned in the class.

3. Primary sources collected by you which could be archival/historical, ethnographic/social or visual/media-based. Your primary sources must reflect the voices and experiences of the people living in the region.

*Note: Use the quantitative and secondary sources to formulate a research question and put the secondary and primary sources in conversation to make your argument.


Reports and documents produced by governments, United Nations, and non-governmental organizations such as the following (other sources can be used as well):

§ United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Reports:

§ Human Rights Watch World Reports:

§ U.S. State Department Country Reports:

Use at least four peer-reviewed sources published in the past 10 to 15 years in addition to at least two class assigned texts.


Besides historical archival sources or your own interviews, surveys and observations, consider analyzing newspaper articles and columns, blogs, political posters, videos, film, music, television, cartoons, artworks, fiction, poetry and so on, produced by journalists, activists, and social movement organizations in or from the society being analyzed. These sources also require references. You may start with GOOGLE but for news and images,

Assignment Expectations:

This assignment is designed partly to improve your information literacy (by finding and analyzing different kinds of resources: government-type reports; peer-reviewed scholarly/secondary sources; and primary sources); partly to improve your analytical skills; and partly to stress the importance of considering historical context, and some of the priorities and concerns of people in particular societies.

The final paper must include the following section:

Introduction: A brief introduction that describes the phenomenon or topic in question, and provides a general overview of the essay and why the topic matters. Introduce the research question, the sources and methods to be used to analyze the primary sources. The introduction should give an argumentative thesis that will frame the reading of secondary sources and the analysis of the primary sources. ½-1 page

Literature review: Outlines what is known about the field/area/thematic issues the paper engages with based on secondary sources. Use texts to frame why the topic is interesting and draw on class theory and other work to set up the foundations of your thesis/argument.

3-4 pages

Analysis: Analyzes the primary sources in relation to the literature and to your research question to make your argument. Each team member will write a separate analysis of a primary source, drawing on at least two class texts to theorize or substantiate your argument. These should be separate primary sources but you should be sure your argument develops in the same direction. These sections will be graded separately.

2 pages each

Conclusion: Bring together the analyses of the primary data with the literature to formulate a conclusion, anticipate future research, underscore what is at stake in the argument.

½-1 page

The highest quality papers will be clearly written, synthetic, analytical, thorough in citations of a standard form (use the Purdue URL listed on the syllabus), and avoid wholesale quoting of passages from the peer-reviewed secondary sources.

To facilitate analysis, consider how various sources may differently present and narratively frame the issues you examine. Consider why such differences may exist. Weave such analysis throughout the paper as much as possible.

Wikipedia and non-peer reviewed sources can be places to begin but not end the research. This project is expected to rely on three KINDS of sources (quantitative databases, primary sources, and secondary sources). As an alternative, consider using Oxford Bibliographies to begin developing ideas and potential sources for your projects.

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