First Summer Academy of Atlantic History (SAAH)

First Summer Academy of Atlantic History (SAAH)

Prof. Dr. Susanne Lachenicht, Lehrstuhl für Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit, Universität Bayreuth; Dr. Lauric Henneton, Université Versailles-St.Quentin
From - Until
29.08.2010 - 03.09.2010
Conf. Website
Anna Baltag / Patricia Effenhauser / Thomas Leitmannstetter / Jan Sommer, Universität Bayreuth

European scholars of Atlantic history have recently begun to get together within European-based institutions, such as the EEASA (European Early American Studies Association) or the REDEHJA (Réseau pour le développement européen de l'histoire de la jeune Amérique). In August 2009, Susanne Lachenicht and Lauric Henneton founded the Summer Academy of Atlantic History as a forum for the international exchange of young scholars’ work in the field of Atlantic History.

The first Summer Academy of Atlantic History was held in Bayreuth from August 30 to September 3, 2010. Postgraduate students (PhD candidates and postdoctoral students) met with established specialists to discuss their projects. It was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the European Early American Studies Association (EEASA) and the Chair of Early Modern History, Universitaet Bayreuth.

The first keynote lecture on “The Subject of Atlantic History” was held by NICHOLAS CANNY (NUI Galway). Comparing the historiography on the Mediterranean with Atlantic studies, Canny emphasized the open concept of Atlantic History. In an impressive tour d’horizon, he gave an overview of the present state-of-the-art and provided new perspectives for research for all three periods of Atlantic History. Canny addressed the problem of the grand master narratives and discussed new approaches to the complex historical change taking place in the Atlantic World between 1492 and 1800.

AARON K. SLATER (NY University) presented his project “Imperial Innovations: Political Culture, the Common Good, and the State at the Dawn of the British Empire”. He examined the attitude of colonists and shareholders of the Virginia Enterprise towards trade, commerce, profit and the “common good”. Slater argued that since 1609, there was no general rejection of profit in the new ideological program advocated by the Company.

AMANDA JOYCE SNYDER (Florida International University) dealt with Piracy and Cromwell`s “Western Design” in the 17th century Caribbean. Snyder highlighted the coherence of piracy, colonialism, foreign policy and processes of nation building, as well as the development of identities within the Atlantic World. Taking Port Royal (Jamaica) as a case study she tried to demonstrate that Cromwell's plan was not a failure, but rather an important factor for the establishment of long-lasting English settlements in the Caribbean and for the genesis of an “English Atlantic” as well as the British Empire.

CHARLOTTE CARRINGTON's (Cambridge) dissertation “Dissent and Identity in the Seventeenth-Century New England” aims at a re-assessement of the biography of the “Lord of Misrule” - Thomas Morton.

SUSANNA LINSLEY's (University of Michigan) project “Contending for Unity, the Process and Politics of Religious Liberty in Early National Charleston and New York” presented strategies of religious societies to adapt their traditional structures to the changed environment within the Federal Republic. Denominations in the U.S.A. now had to cope with increased competition. LINSLEY found that the early modern period was by no means solely an age of religious violence. She identified early modern practices of tolerance which again came into play after 1776.

JUSTIN DELLINGER (University of Texas at Arlington) presented his dissertation project “A Provisional Partnership – Ambivalent Spanish Diplomacy in the Gulf Coast Region during the American War for Independence”. It aims at examining the policies of the Spanish Crown during the American War for Independence. Dellinger made clear that the Spanish influence had been underrated in the history of the American Revolution. By examining Spanish politics, Spanish correspondence with and about the United States, Dellinger intends to portray the ambivalence of Spain’s foreign policy.

HUW DAVID (Oxford University) presented his project „Cankers to the riches of a country? Transantlantic Absenteeism in Colonial South Carolina“ in which he examines the importance of individual agency within the imperial arena. He stressed that the representation of colonial interests did not automatically oppose imperial guidelines.

JOSÉ GASCH TOMÁS' dissertation „Material Culture and Consumption of Asian Goods in The Atlantic World. The Manila Galleons From New Spain to Castile” connects the South Atlantic not only to Europe, but also to Asia. His comparative case studies of Mexico City and Seville reveal the reception and dissemination of Asian products in America and Europe between 1580 and 1620. Secondly, he was concerned with the dynamic processes of distribution and transport of Asian goods from New Spain to Castile: trading connections and informal networks. He thus focused the Americas as a point of intersection and commercial as well as cultural exchange.

In the first “Projects’ Workshop”, MARK HÄBERLEIN, CLAUDIA SCHNURMANN, CHRISTINA URBANEK and HERMANN WELLENREUTHER presented their DFG project "Genese und Transformation atlantischer Netzwerke". Comparing networks of pastors and scholars in a diachronic perspective, they investigate change and continuity in the building of networks and the transfer of knowledge and goods across the Atlantic and in North America.

TREVOR BURNARD’s (University of Warwick) project takes a comparative look at Saint-Domingue and Jamaica and asks the following questions: Why did the Caribbean fare so well after the Seven Years’ War? What were the effects of the Jamaican and Haitian revolutions? And how did racial ideologies on both islands change over time?

SARAH BARBER (University of Lancaster) presented her project “Disputation Societies”, which is supposed to become a deconstrcution of the history of the British Caribbean, c. 1610-1720. Specific attention was paid to Barbados which became a model for plantation societies. Barber wants re-investigate concepts such as “slave”, “servant”, “indenture”. She attempts to describe the complexity of the labour market from a “vernacular” viewpoint.

In workshop 5 ANDREAS HUEBNER (University of Giessen) introduced his project „Migration, Forced Migration, Creolization, and Slavery in Times of Global Crisis, 1720-1820“ as a study of identities and the development of social hierarchies of the German Coast of the lower Mississippi Delta. Starting with the idea that global crisis can change identities and social orders also at the local level, he scrutinized the collapse of the Johns Laws Company, the French and Indian War and the Haitian Revolution with regard to the consequences for the Germans of colonial Louisiana.

ELODIE PEYROL-KLEIBER (Paris VIII) presented her research project on the migration of Irish “indentured servants” to the 17th century Chesapeake. It investigates the lives and individual experiences of those servants. The questions raised by Peyrol-Kleiber concerned, among others, identity, the relation between masters and servants, ideologies, stereotypes and the economic role of indentured servants in the Atlantic World.

FRANK KELDERMAN’s (University of Michigan) dissertation project “Early Barbados and Discourses of Trade, Acculturation, and Imperial Aspirations, 1627-1641” examines intercultural encounters from an Atlantic point of view. He hopes to contribute to a better understanding of cross-cultural networks and of mobility during the Early American period. Furthermore his dissertation will add to a better knowledge of colonial discourses during the phase of Early British expansion.

JAN HÜSGEN (University of Hannover) presented his dissertation project “The abolition of slavery in the Moravian Church”. The project is part of a larger DFG-funded project on “After Slavery – The Caribbean and Africa in comparison”. Hüsgen made a case that the official historiography of the Moravian Church, which was influenced by euphemistic literature, created a master narrative with regard to slavery in the Moravian Church. Hüsgen showed that slavery in the Moravian Church was much less ‘humane’ than historiography has suggested so far.

AGLAIA VENTERS (Tulane University) gave a paper on “French Utopian Designs” in colonial North America. The missionaries, colonists and philosophes – remembering religious wars and revolts in Europe – shared the design to create a better, non-violent society. However, these designs failed on both sides of the Atlantic, due to imperial wars, American Indian revolts against colonial governments and the Haitian and French Revolutions.

PEDRO MARTINEZ GARCIA (University of Bayreuth) presented his project on perceptions of the “other” and the “self” in late medieval and early modern travel narratives. Do travel narratives change when Europeans are confronted with the so-called New World? And if so, when do they change?

SÜNNE JUTERCZENKA (University of Rostock) provided insights into her work on religious representation of cultural contacts in colonial North America. She presented religious discourses of dissenting groups and the way these discourses shaped the eurocentric representations of cultural contacts between Europeans and indigineous peoples. The project aims, inter alia, at demonstrating that these discourses were transconfessional in character.

In the final keynote TREVOR BURNARD defined the field of Atlantic History as the creation, deconstruction and re-construction of narratives with the aim to overcome eurocentric and national perspectives. For young researchers, he pointed out the practical advantages of Atlantic History: it offers good career outlooks and a broad field of unexplored research topics.

In the second “Projects' Workshop”, EVAN HAEFELI (Columbia University) presented his current project “Toleration in the Dutch colonies in the 17th Century”. It is a review of the “Big American Myth” that America was, from the beginning, associated with religious freedom and plurality. Haefeli showed that the Dutch granted tolerance only within certain boundaries. The discussion following the presentation made evident that European research still focuses processes of confessionalization and neglects the practice of tolerance in the early modern period.

DAVID L. SMITH’s (Selwyn College, Cambridge) new work deals with Oliver Cromwell and royalism in the Atlantic context and further challenges Virginia as a royalist colony. Smith stressed the role of Virginia as a refuge for royalists. Still, there was no active royalist resistance against the Republic and the Commonwealth.

The present members of the SAAH’s Steering Committee and Advisory Board decided that the next SAAH will be held in 2011. It will be hosted by Prof Nicholas Canny and the Moore Institute of the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Conference overview:

Keynote lecture:
Nicholas Canny (Dublin/Galway): The Subject of Atlantic History

Workshop 1: International relations: Wars, Diplomacy and Imperial Competition I

Aaron K. Slater, New York University: 'Imperial Innovations: Political Culture, the Common Good, and the State at the Dawn of the British Empire, 1603-1660' (comment: Claudia Schnurmann (Hamburg))
Amanda Joyce Snyder, Florida International University: 'Piracy and Cromwell's Western Design' (comment: David L. Smith (Cambridge))

Workshop 2: Religious networks, dissent and tolerance

Charlotte CARRINGTON, Cambridge University: 'An Atlantic Life: Reconsidering the ‘Lord of Misrule,’ Thomas Morton'. (comment: Lauric Henneton (Versailles-St. Quentin))
Susanna Christine Linsley, University of Michigan: 'Contending for Unity: the Politics of Religious Toleration in Early National Charleston and New York City' (comment: Evan Haefeli, Columbia Univ., New York))

Workshop 3: International relations: Wars, Diplomacy and Imperial Competition II

Justin Dellinger, The University of Texas at Arlington'A Provisional Partnership – Ambivalent Spanish Diplomacy in the Gulf Coast Region during the American War of Independence'. (comment: Trevor BURNARD, Warwick)

Workshop 4: Trade and Commerce

Huw T. DAVID, Oxford University: 'The Atlantic at Work: Britain's and South Carolina's Trading Networks' (comment: Ben Marsh (Stirling))
José Gasch Tomas, European University Institute, Florence: 'Material Culture and Consumption of Asian Goods in the Atlantic World. The Manila Galleons from New Spain to Castile (1580-1640)' (comment: Mark Häberlein (Bamberg))

Projects' workshop

Presentation of new research projects of Trevor Burnard, Ben Marsh, Sarah Barber, Mark Häberlein, Claudia Schnurmann, Hermann Wellenreuther and Evan Haefeli

Workshop 5: Atlantic Migrations

Andreas Huebner, Gießen University, Germany: 'New Perspectives on Colonial Louisiana: Migration, Forced Migration, Creolization, and Slavery in Times of Global Crisis, 1720-1820' (comment: Trevor BURNARD (Warwick))
Elodie Peyrol-Kleiber, Vincennes-Saint Denis, Université Paris VIII: 'The Migration of Irish Indentured Servants to 17th Century Maryland and Virginia'. (comment: Nicholas Canny (Dublin/Galway))

Workshop 6: Colonialism(s) / Re-constructing Identities and Social Relations

Frank P. Kelderman, University of Michigan: 'Early Barbados and Discourses of Trade, Acculturation, and Imperial Aspirations, 1627-1641' (comment: Sarah BARBER (Lancaster))
Jan Hüsgen, Hannover University: 'The abolition of Slavery in the Moravian Church' (comment: Hermann Wellenreuther (Göttingen))

Workshop 7: Projections and representations

Aglaia Maretta Venters, Tulane University, Louisiana: 'Time to Murder and Create: The Failure of the French Utopian Designs for the Atlantic World'. (comment: Leslie Choquette (Assumption College, Worcester/Mass.))
Pedro Martínez García, Bayreuth University: 'The (American) 'other' in Early Modern Europe: Travel Narratives and Alterity from the Late Middle Ages to the Age of the Discoveries' (comment: Tim Lockley (Warwick))
Sünne Juterczenka, Rostock University'Encounters in Eden: Religious representations of cultural contacts in colonial North America' (comment: Susanne Lachenicht (Bayreuth))

Keynote lecture:
Trevor Burnard (Warwick): 'Expanding the Spatial Boundaries of Early America: Accounting for the rise of Atlantic and Continental History in the Writing of Early American History. '

Second Projects’ workshop und general wrap up
Claudia Schnurmann, Hermann Wellenreuther

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