Introduction: What is Transatlantic History?

Kristen D. Burton, Isabelle Rispler

Abstract


The objective of the peer-reviewed online journal Traversea is to give emerging scholars the opportunity to publish their research in the field of transatlantic history. Transatlantic history is a problem-oriented conceptual approach that allows for the non-Eurocentric and transnational study of the interactions of people, goods, and ideas between any of the four continents surrounding the Atlantic basin between the time of the European “discovery” of the Americas in the 1500s and the present day. Situated primarily in the fields of both social and cultural history, it draws not just on modern social theory but also on discourse analysis and semiotics. Its approaches are transnational and comparative history as well as intercultural transfer. Rejecting the conceptualization of cultural transmission as a one-way imposition, transatlantic scholars examine the reciprocity of cultural exchange. By taking a transnational approach, scholars can look beyond and below the nation state, focusing instead on the qualities of individual communities or individuals rather than framing them as mere extensions of their nation states. Sharing the geographic focus of Atlantic history, transatlantic history seeks to move beyond the limitations established by colonial/imperial and national history. Compared to the more traditional and established Atlantic history, transatlantic history offers scholars a more inclusive approach.


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