Why did Europeans and Americans enslave Africans? How did they justify their actions?
Katharine Gerbner, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota and author of Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World, leads us on an exploration of ways Christianity influenced early ideas about slavery and its practice.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Katharine Gerbner, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota and author of Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World, joins us for an exploration of ways Christianity influenced early ideas about slavery and its practice.
As we dive into the long and complicated history between slavery and Christianity, Katharine reveals the evolution of the relationship between Christianity and slavery in Europe; How ideas about Protestant Christianity and slavery developed in the North American and Caribbean colonies; And, the idea of Protestant supremacy and how it influenced and gave way to the idea of race-based slavery.
What You’ll Discover
- The relationship between Christianity and slavery prior to the 17th century
- European practices of slavery between medieval period and the 17th century
- How slavery and Christianity expanded in Africa
- Differences between Catholic Christianity and Protestant Christianity
- How Protestant Christianity viewed slavery
- Differences between Catholic and Protestant colonies
- Differences between Catholic and Protestant practices of slavery
- Christianity and slavery in Barbados
- The Barbadian idea of “Protestant Supremacy”
- When the English shift from using Christianity to race in justifications for slavery
- Influence of Barbadian ideas about slavery on other colonies
- Virginian precedents and ideas about slavery
- Quaker missionaries and their ideas about slavery
- Anglican missionaries and their ideas about slavery
- Moravian missionaries and their ideas about slavery
- Shifting ideas and debates about christianizing slaves
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Katharine Gerbner
- Katharine Gerbner on Twitter: @ktgerbs
- Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World
- Episode 047: Emily Conroy-Krutz, Christian Imperialism
- Episode 064: Brett Rusthforth, Native American slavery in New France
- Episode 135: Julie Holcomb, Moral Commerce
- Episode 139: Andrés Reséndez, Indian Enslavement in the Americas
- Episode 170: Wendy Warren, Slavery in Early New England
- Episode 173: Marisa Fuentes, Colonial Port Cities and Slavery
- Episode 178: Karoline Cook, Muslims & Moriscos in Colonial Spanish America
In your opinion, what might have happened if the English, Dutch, and Danish had required baptism for enslaved people as the Spanish, Portuguese, and French did? How would the relationship between Protestantism and slavery have evolved differently?
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