In Class: Discuss Rediker, Introduction and Chapter One.

PDF copy of Rediker's Introduction

PDF copy of Rediker's Chapter One

To learn a little more about historian Marcus Rediker, here are a couple of links to videos where he discusses this text and his work in depth.

Guided Reading Questions:


  • What period of time does this text focus on? Why? Who are the subjects of this book?
  • Why does Rediker focus on British and American ships? Centers of trade? What rationale does he offer fort this?
  • In what ways were captive people able to maintain some humanity, agency?
  • Why does he call his work, a human history?
  • How was the diagram of the slave ship Brooks a tool for terror and eventually, liberation?

Chapter 1

  • How are figures like Captain Tomba, "the boatswain", the "unknown man" symbols of resistance?
  • What drew individuals to the slave trade? In what specific ways did they stand to benefit from the institution?
  • What mechanisms of control did slavers utiltize to maintain order on the ship?
  • In what ways did slavers upon various ships, dehumanize their captives? How does the notion of human wastage as Rediker calls it, figure into their business plan?