Our MA in International Slavery Studies is one of the few programmes in the world to offer students the chance to study forced labour and slavery in a wide variety of past and present contexts. Your seminars, research and tutorials will range broadly, challenging you to analyse historical forms of slavery, to critique modern responses to human trafficking, to evaluate the legacies and memorialisation of slavery in contemporary society, and to apply critical and literary theories to surviving representations of slavery.
Drawing expertise from researchers across the University of Liverpool, students will benefit from our unique relationship with the International Slavery Museum. You will work with the Museum’s staff to study the commemoration and memorialisation of slavery, while the broader MA programme is a flagship activity for the Centre for the Study of International Slavery – a successful venture between the Museum and the University. As members of the Centre, students will meet the international cast of visitors who speak in our seminar series, presenting cutting edge research for criticism and debate.
Probing “slavery” as a category of cultural, legal, political and social analysis, students will confront the realities of un-free labour and asserted human ownership in ancient, modern and contemporary societies. However, there is plenty of potential to specialise in the areas and approaches that grab your interest. Besides the four modules concerning slavery, students will select their disciplinary training modules from a wide variety offered by historians, political scientists, literary scholars and other specialists, enabling you to select the right training for your own interests and aspirations.
All teaching takes place in small-group workshops, seminars and tutorials. Assessment tests students’ abilities through research essays, oral presentations and a 15,000 word dissertation, which is intended to be an original work of scholarship and research.
The course will appeal to you whether you want to develop the skills to work in a range of research careers, within the NGO, public and private sectors, to develop your experience in museum, political or campaigning work, or prepare for further academic research with a PhD. The distinctive choice of disciplinary training modules from across those offered in University departments provides the ideal opportunity for students to change direction from their undergraduate specialism or further their existing strengths. In approaching the topic of slavery and forced labour through a comparative, multidisciplinary perspective, this programme provides both variety and the opportunity to specialise in students’ chosen areas.
Why study International Slavery at Liverpool?
Our regular research seminars offer unparalleled opportunities to debate fresh approaches with a programme of renowned international speakers.
The unique partnership between the University and the International Slavery Museum offers students the opportunity to work with the curators of the Museum as they consider how to develop its galleries in the future.
Our library boasts a wide range of resources, many available online, with a particularly strong collection for the study of slavery, abolition and resistance.
This programme is a pioneering opportunity to choose your disciplinary skills training to suit your interests and aspirations, permitting you to pick from a wide variety of literary, historical and social science modules.
Students study two 30-credit core modules and four 15-credit research training modules, culminating in a 60-credit dissertation.
Breadth of expertise
The interests of our staff and PhD students are extremely diverse and span the medieval, early modern and modern periods.
Their work encompasses political, social, cultural, economic, military and diplomatic history, across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.
Active seminar programmes, linked to our research centres and MA programmes, enable staff and postgraduates to present their work and listen to eminent visiting speakers.
These are our on-going seminar series:
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Contemporary Cultural and Social
Contemporary History and Policy
New Research (run by our postgraduate students)
Recent conferences and workshops have addressed ‘Religion in the Spanish Baroque’, ‘Text and Place in Medieval and Early Modern Europe’, ‘Re-thinking Post- Slavery’ and ‘British Nuclear Culture’.
Taught programmes that prepare you for future research
By pursuing our programmes you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to carry out further research towards a PhD.
Our MA programmes are taught by research-active experts who bring their knowledge of, and passion for, their subjects into the seminar room.
Teaching takes place in small-group seminars or workshops and through one-to-one tutorials, as we believe this leads to the best collaboration between students and staff.
We offer programmes in:-
International Slavery Studies
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
You can also pursue an MRes in History or a vocational Masters in Archives and Records Management.
Support and skills training for PhD students
As a postgraduate research student you’ll receive comprehensive skills from the Graduate School, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and History Department.
This will equip you with the research skills you need to successfully complete your PhD.
Our PhD programmes place a strong emphasis on independent research and study, culminating in a 100,000-word dissertation. Two supervisors (normally experts in your chosen field) who will advise and support you through the process.
Our commitment to postgraduate students
We welcome enquiries from all postgraduate students interested in studying here and will give you all the academic, practical and pastoral support we can.
Students have a voice here and are represented on the School Postgraduate Committee. There’s also a dedicated staff – student liaison committee to oversee our MA and PhD programmes.
Postgraduate studentships and bursaries are often available.