The Atlantic is everywhere: many departments have given the Atlantic its own field, increasing
numbers of graduate students call themselves historians of the Atlantic world, and multiple
roundtables and books are now dedicated to determining what the Atlantic constitutes.
The first generation of Atlantic historians, trained under the inexhaustible Bernard Bailyn,
presumed the British Atlantic to be The Atlantic. But there are all sorts of Atlantics that lie
beneath the surface: a multinational, non-regulated ocean of contingency, chaos, and
occasional rhythm, whose stories can be told from Indigenous, Dutch, French, Indigenous,
Portuguese, and Spanish perspectives.
We would like to hear these stories from the next generation of Atlantic historians. We
imagine this conference as a set of conversations amongst graduate students who are
concerning themselves primarily with the Southern Atlantic. With keynote by David Wheat,
and reception hosted at the John Carter Brown Library, we aspire for a series of presentations
and discussions amongst colleagues at varying points in their graduate careers, fellows at the John
Carter Brown Library, and participating students and faculty at Brown University. Over the
weekend of September 29-30, we hope to find ourselves in an Atlantic that encompasses a
variety of time periods and frameworks, getting away from its initial conceptualization as an
English boundary. Send your abstracts of 250 words and one page CVs to participate by July
31st¨ 2017 to email@example.com. We look forward to reading them, and please email
us if you have any questions!
Here are some, although by no means comprehensive, keywords that may help you get
started: abolition, Asiento, Black Atlantic, cartography, cinema, class, diaspora, Indian servitude,
gender, geography, go-betweens, healing, hurricanes, magic, natural history, Pacific, pirates,
plantations, queer theory, quilombos, race, rebellion, Red Atlantic, religion, slaves, spirituality,
About the Library:
The collections of the John Carter Brown are owed to the extraordinary wealth and
influence of its namesake, John Carter Brown. For some thirty years, Brown pursued books and
manuscripts focused on the early history of the Americas. In memory of his father, John
Nicholas Brown raised the funds and dedicated the building in which the current collections are
held in 1904. Due to its extraordinary breadth and scope for the early history of the Americas in
Dutch, Spanish, Latin, Nahuatl, Quechua, French, Italian, among others, the John Carter
Brown Library will serve as host for our keynote speaker¨ David Wheat¨ and a reception
following. Students who may find the library helpful in future research will have ample
opportunity to speak with its librarians and the fellows who will be in residence during the fall of
2017. To view the online catalogue and fellows in residence, visit their website.
About the Keynote Speaker:
David Wheat is currently Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University
where he works on migration history, slavery, and maritime exchange across the Atlantic and
Colonial Latin America. His first book, Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, published by
UNC Press, focuses on the many roles, influences, and spaces that Africans brought with them
in the development of Spanish Caribbean society in the late sixteenth to mid-seventeenth
centuries. For more on David Wheat, see his faculty profile.