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The evolution of a subject
Nicholas Canny

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

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered

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

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

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered
Abstract only
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 Atlantic History. The heyday of

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered
Philip D. Morgan

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

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered
A programme for the teaching of history in the post- national era
Thomas Adam

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

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered
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International terraqueous relations
Xavier Guillaume
Julia Costa López

. From a macro perspective, for example, an exclusive focus on connection in Atlantic history would not be able to capture nineteenth-century dynamics: a shift towards the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the end of the slave trade and the independence of the Spanish colonies all mean that to a large extent ‘the two sides of the Atlantic drifted apart in reality and in people’s minds’ (Osterhammel, 2014 : 100). Similarly – and to a

in The Sea and International Relations
Open Access (free)
Seas, oceans and civilisations
Jeremy C.A. Smith

contemporary civilisational analysis manifested themselves coextensively in greater world contexts. Each oceanic zone has distinctive histories. Much of the recent scholarship of Atlantic history has established how the Atlantic seaboard states had no 117 Saltwater horizons 117 competitors in oceanic space in the Western hemisphere. The situation diverged completely from the seas ringing the Indian Ocean and the states that patrolled them. In their land invasion of the Americas, by contrast, they confronted Amerindian peoples and civilisations. In time, they competed

in Debating civilisations
Decoloniality from Cape Town to Oxford, and back
Stephen Howe

non-North Atlantic history or philosophy, remove a statue or painting. When the prestigious American Historical Review, in January 2018, announced that it was ‘decolonising’ itself, it seemingly meant only or mainly a little more ethnic diversity in its review coverage and editorial board. 17 In sum, then, and as Jonathan Jansen has (again) urged with particular force and clarity

in The break-up of Greater Britain
"On the political passions in Europe and America and their implications for Transatlantic History"
Charles S. Maier

American History. Nonetheless, it still rested on an implicit teleology for a ‘Western’ or Atlantic History – liberal and democratic institutions developed together as part of what might be thought of as an irreversible force. The overthrow of communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 reinforced this success story. But historians today need to ask in the light of contemporary ‘populist’ challenges whether these optimistic premises were flawed as the basis of a historiographical programme. And a further question arises: even if we can rescue the transatlantic project

in The TransAtlantic reconsidered