Several of those who have set out to explain the emergence of Atlantic History 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 Atlantic History about when you started the Harvard Atlantic History Seminar in 1995? Bernard Bailyn: A general and at first vague awareness of Atlantic History 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 Atlantic History: Concept and Contours : on the one hand, major developments in geopolitics centred on the Atlantic area, from the wartime Atlantic alliance to the
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 Atlantic History. 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. Atlantic History 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
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 Atlantic History developed by Jacques Godechot and Robert R. Palmer. 11 ‘In its first, original phase’, Bernard Bailyn wrote, Atlantic history in the broadest sense is the story of the creation of a vast new marchland of European civilization, an ill
Ireland, slavery and the Caribbean draws together essays and arguments from a diverse group of contributors who seek to explore the many and varied ways in which Ireland and the Caribbean share an interlocking Atlantic history. This shared history is not always a comfortable one. Despite being victims of the first English empire, Irish people enslaved others throughout this period, and can be found at the cutting edge of extractive colonialism. They profited, exploited, traded, and trafficked with the very worst of European opportunists. Irish merchants and enslavers operated in the grey zone between empires. They could be found trading within the Danish, French and Dutch empires, as well as within the British empire, with which they were more properly connected. Irish people also shared an experience of colonialism themselves, and this opens a series of interesting avenues and rich ironies for the contributors to untangle and interrogate. The Caribbean had an outsized impact on Ireland itself, as many of the chapters argue. Irish estates were modelled or named for Caribbean precursors, just as the colonial engineering of the Irish landscapes affected those in Jamaica, Trinidad and elsewhere. The relationship was reciprocal and complex. This collection builds on the sterling work of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Project at University College London, as well as the pioneering scholarship of Nini Rodgers. It brings together literary scholars, architectural historians, historians of colonialism, and art historians. The result is a novel exploration of the deep and complex relationship between two island archipelagos in a period of peak colonialism.
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 Atlantic history, 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/ USA, 2004). 16 Bernard Bailyn, Atlantic History: Concept and Contours (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005). See also Alison Games, ‘Atlantic History: 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). 17 Sugata