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New Perspectives on the Black Atlantic

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In 1993, Paul Gilroy famously described the “Black Atlantic” as a “counterculture of modernity,” using an “explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective” as opposed to a nationalist or ethnically absolutist approach to the history of the African diaspora.  In the two decades since he wrote those words the scholarship on the Black Atlantic has been rich, wide-ranging, and deep.  This workshop will analyze and evaluate this work, assessing strengths and weaknesses and suggesting new areas for future investigation.  We will discuss a variety of themes in the linked histories of Africa, Europe, and the Americas: race, class, gender, environment, and visual representation, with special emphases on history from below and the rise of capitalism.


In 1993, Paul Gilroy famously described the “Black Atlantic” as a “counterculture of modernity,” using an “explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective” as opposed to a nationalist or ethnically absolutist approach to the history of the African diaspora. In the two decades since he wrote those words the scholarship on the Black Atlantic has been rich, wide-ranging, and deep.

In this workshop, a range of speakers, including Marcus Rediker, Robin Blackburn, Catherine Hall, Francoise Verges, and Tera Hunter analyze and evaluate this work, assessing strengths and weaknesses and suggesting new areas for future investigation.