Course aims


  • What is “the Atlantic world”?
  • What do you think are major turning points in Atlantic history and why?
  • What happens when we shift perspective to an Indian or African Atlantic? How do traditional stories of contact and colonization change?
  • When and why might historians adopt an Atlantic framework?
  • How has Atlantic history shaped the historical narratives being produced today?


Command of information – by the end of the semester you should know:

  • Major political, social and economic themes that have shaped the “Atlantic World” between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • Histories of polities around the Atlantic basin, including those in Europe, the Americas and Africa
  • Major debates surrounding Atlantic history.
  • Genealogy of Atlantic history
  • Extant arguments about why Atlantic history favors some historical narratives over others.

Historical skills – by the end of the semester you should be able to:

  • Construct an argument about the temporal limits of “the Atlantic World”
  • Clearly express ideas and arguments through writing and speech.
  • Read, digest and analyze scholarly work on history.
  • Use and critique the use of primary sources in making historical arguments.
  • Apply the skills learned in history classrooms to their extra-academic lives.
  • Identify and apply Chicago Manual of Style citation standards