The interview discusses the history of the research field ‘Atlantic History’ with one of the leading scholars in Atlantic History, Harvard historian Bernard Bailyn. It looks into the founding of the Harvard Atlantic History Seminar, themes and topics and how the field has evolved since the 1990s.
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.
The introduction assesses the development of the concept of the Atlantic World and its related research fields, Transatlantic Studies and Atlantic History. The chapter opts for a new understanding of Transatlantic Studies and Atlantic History as it has evolved after the end of the Cold War and emphasizes the need for self-reflexivity, transnational, and global perspectives in Transatlantic Studies and Atlantic History alike.