Sample Assignment: Tracking a Slave Ship with Voyages
This assignment asks students to investigate a specific slave vessel and contextualize its journeys within their broader knowledge of the trade and concurrent historical events/processes that might have affected it. After using the database to choose a vessel and analyze its voyages, students complete a worksheet that asks them to look at the vessel in its historical context. After completing the worksheet, students participate in a class discussion where they compare the experiences of various vessels, the ways that historical context shaped the transatlantic slave trade, and continuities and changes in the trade over time. Ideally the discussion will provide openings for discussions on the complex historical thinking skills of periodization and causation. In an undergraduate classroom this assignment could involve a research essay on the chosen ship rather than a worksheet.
By John Rosinbum
For more about using Voyages as an easy entry into digital history projects for students, see John Rosinbum's blog post on AHA Today: "Teaching the Slave Trade with Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database."
Teaching with #DigHist
Follow Teaching with #DigHist, a new AHA Today series geared toward instructors at every level who are thinking about using digital history projects in their classrooms. Each month, John Rosinbum, a high school and college instructor in Arizona, will review a digital history project, explore what sorts of historical questions it could help students answer, and provide learning-outcome driven, ready-to-use assignments.