History, Literature, Cultural Studies
The quarterly Atlantic Studies provides an international forum for research and debate on historical, cultural and literary issues within the Atlantic world. Published on behalf of MESEA (The Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) , the journal challenges nationalist historiographies and literatures by focusing on the Atlantic as an area of cultural change and exchange, translation and interference, communication and passages.
Atlantic Studies welcomes submissions in the areas of cultural studies, history, geography, critical theory, and literature.
April 2006, Vol. 3, No. 1
The April 2006 issue of Atlantic Studies features scholarship by James A. Wood, Tobias Green, E. San Juan, Jr., Andrea Pejrolo, Aliki Varvogli, Isabel Soto, and Claire Healy.
The Republic Regenerated: French and Chilean revolutions in the imagination of Francisco Bilbao, 1842-1851
This article explores the early history of republicanism in Latin America through the writings of Francisco Bilbao, one of the Chile’s most important nineteenth-century radical intellectuals. Bilbao’s thinking about revolutionary change in Chile was heavily influenced by his understanding of the French revolutionary republican tradition. The article examines the transatlantic connections that shaped Bilbao’s thought, the development of “second-generation” republicanism in Chile, and the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1848. It argues that the “regeneration” of the Chilean republic became a kind of mission for Bilbao and his generation of Chilean university students. In pursuing this mission, they became intermediaries between the cutting edge of Atlantic political thought and the stubborn social realities of postcolonial Chile. The article also shows how Bilbao’s radical liberalism inspired a ferocious counterattack by Chile’s conservative Catholic Church, indication how the Church would respond to future challenges to its authority.
Fear and Atlantic History: Some observations derived from the Cape Verde Islands and the African Atlantic
The history of the Atlantic necessarily encompasses a permanent dialogue with fear, but analysis of this fear is often absent from many historical discussions. Historical documentation is difficult to cite in such an analysis, as human nature often prevents people from writing of their fears. Yet the slightest pause for reflection confirms the importance of grasping the role of fear if the historical changes that accompanied the Age of Discovery are to be fully understood. Concentrating on fifteenth-seventeenth centuries accounts of the Cape Verde islands and Senegambia, this paper elucidates how the role of fear can be discerned through documentation and physical remains. It shows how the modernization of consciousness required by the fifteenth-century voyages of discovery can be interpreted as a distancing mechanism provoked by fear. Studying the physical remains of the first European settlement in the tropics, Ribeira Grande, it suggests that urban architecture betrays the multiplicity of fears felt by its early settlers. In addition, analysing the conceptual framework of navigators and settlers, it shows how familiar categories from fifteenth-century Iberia were subsequently applied to the newly discovered geographical spaces. The paper argues that this web of interactions stimulates thought as to the role of fear in other places and during other times. The use of alien concepts in the Cape Verde islands and the African Atlantic was pivotal in the process of dehumanisation, which enabled the transatlantic slave trade to endure. Properly seen, fear created a conceptual stasis that allowed damaging and long-lasting stereotypes to develop-thereby securing for this elusive emotion a lasting place in the genesis of the contemporary Atlantic.
Edward Said’s Affiliations: Secular humanism and Marxism
Postcolonial theory and criticism seizes on the fact of the uneven development of world capitalism as the central cultural theme for its reflections, divorcing it from the totality of social relations in history and the international process of class struggle. Edward Said inspired this “culturalist approach” with his deconstructive reading of Antonio Gramsci’s critique of bourgeois hegemony. Said, however, tried to complicate the thesis of Orientalism with a critique of imperialistic history, including US global interventions, in Culture and Imperialism and his later writings. Overall, Said, despite a resort to a militant species of liberal humanism, provides a critical perspective on the complicity of academic discourse with predatory neo-colonial attacks on people of colour everywhere, and on the value of popular-democratic ideals of democratic sovereignty and egalitarian community that can reconcile Europe and the Atlantic world with the revolutionary movements of “postcolonial” subalterns around the globalized planet. As a democratic, secular humanist, Said is an ally of the popular masses against the terror of corporate globalization.
Transatlantic Interplays: The origins of Miles Davis’s modal jazz in Ascenseur Pour l´Échafaud (Lift to the Scaffold) – 1957
This study highlights and analyses the modal elements present in the music recorded by Miles Davis in 1957 for the soundtrack of the French film Ascenseur pour l´échafaud. This recording represents a pivotal point in Davis’s transition from a traditional be-bop style to a more modern and innovative modal sonority. In particular, it focuses on the crucial role played by European musicians Pierre Michelot (bass) and René Urtreger (piano) in inspiring and fostering Davis’s new modal improvisational approach. This very successful collaboration between American and European musicians created for Davis the perfect musical and personal environment in which to conceive, develop and mature his new modal sound. The transatlantic interplays that framed this recording session made Ascenseur pour l´échafaud a unique project for its era, a collaboration in which different styles, techniques and backgrounds helped Davis to conceptualise modal jazz. In addition to the analytical inquiry, an oral-historical study in the form of interviews was conducted with the only two musicians who were still alive and who took part in the original recording session: bassist Pierre Michelot (1928-2005) and pianist René Utreger (b. 1934).
"Underwhelmed to the maximum": American travellers in Dave Eggers's You Shall Know Our Velocity and Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated
This paper explores the meaning and symbolism of travel in two contemporary American novels. You Shall Know Our Velocity and Everything is Illuminated feature characters engaged in circumatlantic exploration and adventure. Both novels explore through two personal and intimate journeys abroad - the ways in which young Americans perceive and are affected by the world beyond their shores at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as well as the ways in which America has gripped the imagination of those they meet on their travels. The novels engage with the issues of globalization and the Americanization of the world, and even though they may to some extent be read as continuous with the tradition of travel in American literature, they can also be read as reflecting new realities which necessitate new formal and discursive narrative strategies. Drawing on theories of travel, globalization and post-national studies, the paper discusses how language, geographical space, ethnicity and cultural memory are brought into focus as the American travellers cross the Atlantic and encounter the world beyond their shores. The title of this paper highlights the notion of disappointment and anti-climax, and the paper argues that this sense of disappointment stems from the fact that the American travellers find a world that is not sufficiently "other" or different. Owing to its de-familiarized sameness, this world also challenges authorial powers of narration and representation. Subsequently, this paper also discusses the two novels' formal and stylistic innovations, and sees them as continuous with the books' thematic concerns.
Boundaries Transgressed: Modernism and miscegenation in Langston Hughes’s „Red-Headed Baby“
This essay argues that while Langston Hughes’s short story „Red-Headed Baby“ (from The Ways of White Folks) may initially seem to depart from the Hughes repertoire (though its dizzying modernist style, for one), it ultimately endorses the author’s signature concerns of race, genre transgression and imaginative appropriation of alterity. I also seek to historicize Hughes’s text, inscribing it within a modernist practice, studies of which have traditionally promoted the Euro-American paradigm of a dehistoricized “modernist construction of authorship through displacement” (Cora Kaplan). Few writers of the first third of the twentieth century have undertaken travel – figurative and literal – as intensely as Hughes has. His work is anchored in representations of displacement and „Red-Headed Baby“ is no exception, with its miscegenation motif and sailor protagonist. Hence my reading of Hughes’s short story will also draw on modes of inquiry that promote displacement as central to an understanding of cultural practice. I draw substantially on Paul Gilroy’s black Atlantic model and formulations of diaspora – not least because his influential work barely mentions Hughes, that most diasporic of modernist writers. I will argue that travel was aesthetically enabling for Hughes, enhancing what elsewhere I have termed his poetics of reciprocity or mutuality. Finally, Duboisian double consciousness also contributes to my discussion, which proposes a dialogic relationship between The Souls of Black Folks and The Ways of White Folks.
Review Essay: Afro-Argentine historiography
September 2011, Vol. 8, No. 3
March 2011, Volume 8, Number 1
June 2011, Volume 8, Number 2
Special issue, Itineraries of Atlantic science - new questions, new approaches, new directions, Vol. 7, No. 4
September 2010, Vol. 7, No. 3
June 2010, Vol. 7, No. 2
March 2010, Volume 7, Number 1
December 2009, Volume 6, Number 3
August 2009, Volume 6, Number 2
April 2009, Volume 6, Number 1
December 2008, Vol. 5, No. 3
August 2008, Vol. 5, No. 2
October 2007, Vol. 4, No. 2
April 2007 , Vol. 4, No. 1
October 2006 , Vol. 3, No. 2
October 2005, Vol. 2, No. 2
April 2005, Vol. 2, No. 1
April 2005, Vol. 2, No. 1
October 2004, Vol. 1, No. 2
April 2004, Vol. 1, No. 1