Several of those who have set out to explain the emergence of AtlanticHistory as a distinct subject of enquiry have begun by seeking to establish when the concept of an Atlantic World first came into vogue. Those who have done so have found that the concept of an Atlantic Community, if not of an Atlantic World, was first popularized in the aftermath of the Second World War by scholars who considered that the liberal-democratic values that had been gradually enshrined into law by governments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from the late
The TransAtlantic reconsidered brings together established experts from Atlantic History and Transatlantic Studies – two fields that are closely connected in their historical and disciplinary development as well as with regard to the geographical area of their interest. Questions of methodology and boundaries of periodization tend to separate these research fields. However, in order to understand the Atlantic World and transatlantic relations today, Atlantic History and Transatlantic Studies should be considered together. The scholars represented in this volume have helped to shape, re-shape, and challenge the narrative(s) of the Atlantic World and can thus (re-)evaluate its conceptual basis in view of historiographical developments and contemporary challenges. This volume thus documents and reflects on the changes within Transatlantic Studies during the last decades. New perspectives on research reconceptualize how we think about the Atlantic World. At a time when many political observers perceive a crisis in transatlantic relations, critical evaluation of past narratives and frameworks will provide an academic foundation to move forward.
Susanne Lachenicht: What was AtlanticHistory about when you started the Harvard AtlanticHistory Seminar in 1995?
Bernard Bailyn: A general and at first vague awareness of AtlanticHistory as a distinct subject in itself had emerged after the Second World War from the convergence of developments at two levels, which I have sketched separately in my book AtlanticHistory: Concept and Contours : on the one hand, major developments in geopolitics centred on the Atlantic area, from the wartime Atlantic alliance to the
Susanne Lachenicht, Charlotte A. Lerg, and Michael Kimmage
it in defence against any kind of totalitarianism, directed particularly against communism. 7 This narrative (re-)created, corroborated, and historicized the ‘West’, a concept soon established in intellectual discourse, which has since been modified, mediated, and repeatedly challenged. 8 Yet it remains a powerful trope for political and popular debate.
Out of this historical context and political undercurrent grew a number of related research fields: Transatlantic Relations, European–American Relations, and AtlanticHistory. The heyday of
Encountering early America traces the history of England’s first century of encounters with America. As this book argues, the sixteenth century represents a discreet and influential period in the history of English encounters with the Americas that is characterised by a multiplicity of approaches. The book provides a crucial chapter in the larger history of the development of the British Empire. It reminds us that the march of British imperialism was by no means inevitable, or exceptional. The emergence of English overseas colonies in the Americas was the result of a century-long engagement with the imperial practices of other European nations and was the consequence of a dynamic and adaptive approach to exploration and settlement that was often born from previous failure. To illuminate these complex processes, the book uncovers the various cultural associations that shaped English perceptions of the New World, and in turn English approaches to exploration and colonisation. It assesses how English colonisers and explorers constructed theories of empire using Old World frameworks of understanding, examines how explorative failures and an oscillating English religious, economic, and cultural landscape affected English New World ventures, and explores how the practicalities of English trade and settlement in the Americas manifested themselves in descriptions of Indigenous appearance and behaviour and in accounts of American environments. The book will be of particular interest to scholars and students working on early English colonialism in North America and European cultural encounters with the New World.
interaction of people, commodities, microbes, cultural practices, and values across and around the Atlantic basin are now legion. AtlanticHistory runs the gamut from capacious to narrowly defined studies – from those employing broad-gauged transatlantic or circum-Atlantic frameworks to those taking a narrower, cis-Atlantic approach in which one corner of the Atlantic world is probed – but all are premised on the idea that such studies gain heightened meaning by being placed in an appropriately enlarged context. Thinking about a wider Atlantic world, it is assumed, enriches
A programme for the teaching of history in the post- national era
of post-war Poland and Germany and embarked on the search for the historical foundation for Western European and Eastern European integration. The most productive outcome of these historical ruminations was the thesis of the Atlantic Revolution and the concept of AtlanticHistory developed by Jacques Godechot and Robert R. Palmer. 11 ‘In its first, original phase’, Bernard Bailyn wrote,
Atlantichistory in the broadest sense is the story of the creation of a vast new marchland of European civilization, an ill
By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this
volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of
violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities
across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications
of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the
study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical
significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the
myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and
non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the
Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex
than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance.
Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale
violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum,
ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was
privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early
modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent
forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in
activities not officially classed as war.
activities of ambitious and speculative
individuals who carved out a new life or career for themselves in the colonies.
The relatively recent innovation that is Atlantichistory, or the history of
the Atlantic world, presents the historian with an alternative way of configuring the history
of Britain’s overseas empire. 11 Peter Marshall’s
observation that the early eighteenth-century empire could mean just as easily ‘power or
dominant interests outside Britain’ as control over territory, hints at the need of a
and David K. van Keuren (eds), The
Machine in Neptune’s Garden: Historical Perspectives on Technology and the
Marine Environment (Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications/
16 Bernard Bailyn, AtlanticHistory: Concept and Contours (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 2005). See also Alison Games, ‘AtlanticHistory:
Definitions, Challenges, and Opportunities’, American Historical Review,
111 (2006), 741–57, and Matt K. Matsuda, Pacific Worlds: A History of Seas,
Peoples, and Cultures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).