Founded In    2003
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest


History, Literature, Cultural Studies

ISSN   1478-8810
Affiliated Organization   MESEA, Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas
Publisher   Routledge, Taylor & Francis
Editorial Board


Manuel Barcia - University of Leeds, UK

Rocío G. Davis - University of Navarra, Spain

Dorothea Fischer-Hornung - Heidelberg University, Germany

David Lambert - - University of Warwick, UK

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Please make submissionselectronically at . Articles should, in general, be under 10,000 words. Please consult the online “Instructions for authors” and follow the journals style sheet (modified Chicago Humanities style)


Submissions will be subjected to two double-blind reviews before acceptance.


Atlantic Studies: Global Currents


Atlantic Studies: Global Currents is a multidisciplinary quarterly that publishes cutting-edge research, studying the Atlantic world as a conceptual, historical, and cultural space. It explores transnational, transhistorical, and transdisciplinary intersections, but also addresses global flows and perspectives beyond the Atlantic as a closed or self-contained space. In the larger context of global flows, the journal considers the Atlantic as part of wider networks, a space of exchange, and an expanding paradigm beyond the limits of its own geography, moving beyond national, regional, and continental divides by examining entangled histories and cultures. Published on behalf of MESEA (Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas), the journal challenges critical orthodoxies that have drawn sharp lines between the experiences and representations of the Atlantic world and its wider global context, in particular in relation to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.


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2013 06, Volume 10, Number 2


Insurrection at sea: violence, the slave trade, and the rhetoric of abolition

This article explores the relationship between violence, in the form of shipboard and plantation insurrections, and the British abolitionist movement in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Beginning with Thomas Clarkson's The Substance of the Evidence of Sundry Persons on the Slave-trade Collected in the Course of a Tour Made in the Autumn of the Year 1788 (1788), I will look at how Clarkson and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Gustavus Vassa, or Olaudah Equiano, the African (1789) negotiate the relationship between violence and the slave trade. Clarkson and Equiano depict the slave trade itself as violent in order to persuade the white British public to turn against the trade politically. However, while their tactic rightly points to the dehumanizing nature of the practice of slavery, it creates at the outset of the abolitionist movement a rhetoric that privileges nonviolent approaches to ending slavery. The period between 1759 and 1771, Equiano's time at sea, saw the highest incidence of insurrection, both by slaves in transit from Africa and by those who reached the plantations in the Americas. From the standpoint of captured Africans, antislavery demanded violent actions to free themselves from their captors. Yet, the work of Clarkson and Equiano thought otherwise, as indicated by the rhetoric of nonviolence they espoused. I argue that during this period, abolitionist rhetoric emerged that defined freeing slaves as abolition rather than as liberation. This early abolitionist rhetoric created representational and practical problems that would continue to plague later abolitionists.

Introduction: oceanic studies

The ocean has lapped at the margins of the critical courses that literary, historical, and cultural studies have shaped in recent decades. Whether in Atlantic, Black Atlantic, transnational, or hemispheric studies; or in ecocritical, spatial, planetary, or temporal reorientations, the seas have bounded, washed, transported, and whelmed the terms and objects of such inquiries. Oceanic studies, the topic of special focus in this issue of Atlantic Studies, proposes that the sea should become central to critical conversations about global movements, relations, and histories. And central not just as a theme or organizing metaphor with which to widen a landlocked critical prospect: in its geophysical, historical, and imaginative properties, the sea instead provides a new epistemology - a new dimension - for thinking about surfaces, depths, and the extra-terrestrial dimensions of planetary resources and relations. Our aim in this special focus section, in other words, is not simply to extend into broader nautical regions the paradigms of Atlantic Studies; instead, the essays in this special focus section take the ocean both as a topical focus and as a methodological model for nonlinear or nonplanar thought. If the sea is "continually being reconstituted by a variety of elements: the non-human and the human, the biological and the geophysical, the historic and the contemporary," as Philip E. Steinberg argues in his contribution, then modes of oceanic thought are themselves predicated on relations whose unfixed, ungraspable contours are ever in multi-dimensional flux.

Of other seas: metaphors and materialities in maritime regions

Even as ocean-region-based studies gain popularity, they all too often fail to engage the aqueous center that lies at the heart of every maritime community. Studies that seek to highlight political-economic connections across ocean basins tend to ignore the sea altogether, while those that highlight it as a site for challenging modernist notions of identity and subjectivity tend to treat the ocean solely as a metaphor. In contrast, this article argues that in order for ocean-region-based studies to reach their potential, the ocean must be engaged as a material space characterized by movement and continual reformation across all of its dimensions. Drawing on a range of theories, from conceptualizations of more-than-human assemblages to the oceanographic modeling techniques of Lagrangian fluid dynamics, this article proposes a perspective that highlights the liquidity of the ocean, so that the sea is seen not just as a space that facilitates movement between a region's nodes but as one that, through its essential, dynamic mobility and continual reformation, gives us a new perspective from which to encounter a world increasingly characterized by connections and flows.

Oceanic voyages, maritime books, and eccentric inscriptions

What does the history of exploration look like when approached from a different disciplinary perspective, that of the history of books? Focusing on the long eighteenth century, this essay reframes exploration histories that typically retrace continuities between explorers, by focusing instead on the discontinuities in the changing conditions of authorship and publication. Specifically, the essay considers the convergence of exploration and book history at three critical junctures: at the turn of the eighteenth century (Dampier), in the mid-to-late eighteenth century (Cook), and in the early nineteenth century (Ross). What if we shifted the ground of inquiry away from the geographic routes these explorers retraced, to the publication protocols that made their books possible in their particular forms, under changing models of authorship? And what if we expanded our inquiry beyond metropolitan print, to include inscriptions in site-specific media-like stone and ice? By looking at the contingent circumstances of publication, inscription, and authorship within eighteenth-century British exploration, the essay uncouples the seemingly unchanging relations between exploration, publication, and authorship

Geography, genre, and hemispheric regionalism

This essay introduces the concept of hemispheric regionalism as a way of understanding the expansive scales of oceanic and hemispheric perspectives. Drawing on Bruno Latour's actor-network theory, hemispheric regionalism flattens the map, and makes visible three things: (1) the different coordinates in play; (2) the importance of the sea in these relations; and (3) the vehicles that travel between different geographic regions. Genre is that vehicle; popular romance mediates the distance and differences across the sea between the US and Cuba in the long nineteenth century. In its ability to retain multiple histories on its surface, the popular romances circulating prior to the Civil War, and long before dime novels, worked to entertain and make sense of the future of US-Cuban relations. The 90-mile waterway between the coasts became the most popular site of literary experimentation in news, notices, and periodicals awash with fascination and anxiety about Cuba. Editor, publisher, and writer Maturin Murray Ballou provides unique insight into the intersection of hemispheric regionalism and the work of romance in the period. It is, ultimately, the genre's capacity to manage multiple points of time along with its broad accessibility that appealed to writers such as Ballou. Through the popular romance, Ballou skillfully negotiated the anachronism of a hemispheric South that included the US and Cuba. Finally, Ballou thrived in a booming literary marketplace making him one of the more successful editors and writers of the antebellum years.

The long transatlantic career of the Turkish spy

An obscure text today, Giovanni Paolo Marana's novel Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy, written in Paris in 1683, was a tremendously popular and influential work on both sides of the eighteenth-century Atlantic. Marana's epistolary novel follows the career of "Mahmut the Arabian," sent by the Turkish sultan to spy on the French court between the years 1637 and 1682. This article will survey the Turkish Spy's long period of circulation in the Anglophone Atlantic, from the work's first translation from French into English in 1687, to Daniel Defoe's sequel A Continuation of Letters Written by a Turkish Spy (1718) and finally to the publication in Philadelphia of Peter Markoe's The Algerine Spy (1787), a successor novel that adopts and adapts the Turkish Spy character to address the pressing concerns of postcolonial America. In the context of recent trends in transnational/transatlantic studies and the ongoing debate over what constitutes "world literature," my argument focuses on how the translators' prefaces attached to the various editions/adaptations of the Turkish Spy deploy translation as a trope to domesticate this nomadic and cosmopolitan text. I will argue that the repeated insistence on the spy's letters having been translated from "Arabick" reflects a search for unrecoverable origins that come to represent the common fictions of the nation itself. The translators of the Turkish Spy insist on a direct relationship between their national audiences and the Arabic original even as actual layers of translation and mediation accumulate. The unruly, rhizomatic history of the Turkish Spy makes the work both a rich case study in the territorialization of literary production in the eighteenth century and a strong candidate for inclusion in the evolving canons of Atlantic and world literature.

Mirroring Zambo in an Atlantic context: the open wound of slavery in Gottfried Keller's Don Correa (1881)

This article analyzes Gottfried Keller's story Don Correa from the classic German novella-cycle Das Sinngedicht (The Epigram, 1881) in an Atlantic context. Using Walter Benjamin's concept of "mirroring" as a theoretical framework, the article "mirrors" Don Correa's Angolan slave Zambo in three different cultural and political settings: "Where Africa Mirrors Latin America" focuses on the prominent role of the Jesuits in Don Correa and connects the fate of African slaves with that of Amerindians, "Where Female Mirrors Male" focuses on the topic of transvestitism and connects the legendary Queen Nzinga to Keller's predilection for gender crossing, and "Where Black Mirrors White" focuses on the debate on slavery in Keller's native Switzerland during the time when the novel was written. These three "mirrors" provide new insights into the cultural and historical context to which Don Correa refers and the debate on transatlantic slavery during Keller's lifetime. This approach challenges the general assumption that Das Sinngedicht is one of the few works by Keller without reflection on concrete historical and/or political problems. By interpreting the story alongside research and debates on cultural and historical issues in the Atlantic world, it reveals a series of connections that have remained unnoticed in the existing scholarship. It shows how Atlantic studies allows new perspectives on classic literary works, even if those works originated in a cultural context that does not seem to have a direct relationship to slavery and colonialism.

Borderlands in the Atlantic world

This article proposes a theoretical model for what I call the "Atlantic borderlands." The Atlantic borderlands model is created by integrating the borderlands and the Atlantic world theory into a single construct. The primary purpose of this article is to argue that the Atlantic borderlands were real places and that this historical model can serve to shed much light on the history of Africa, the Americas, and Europe during the early modern era and nineteenth century. In the course of making this argument, I will examine the genealogies of both fields. Then I will offer definitions of borderlands and the Atlantic world, before defining the Atlantic borderlands and then comparing it with alternative theoretical models. The second half of this article uses the North American southeast during the colonial and Revolutionary periods as an extended example of the Atlantic borderlands in action.

Other Issues

June 2015, Volume 12, Number 2
March 2015, Volume 12, Number 1
, Volume 11, Number 4, Atlantic childhood and youth
2014 09, Volume 11, Number 3 Irish Global Migration
2014 06, Volume 11, Number 2
2014 03, Volume 11, Number 1
2013 12, Volume 10, Number 4
2013 09, Volume 10, Number 3
2013 03, Volume 10, Number 1 The French Atlantic Studies
2012 12, Volume 9, Number 4
2012 09, Volume 9, Number 3 Slave Trade Memorialization
2012 06, Volume 9, Number 2
2012 03, Volume 9, Number 1 The Planter Class
2011 12, Volume 8, Number 4
2011 09, Volume 8, Number 3
2011 06, Volume 8, Number 2 Abolitionist places
2011 03, Volume 8, Number 1
2010 12, Volume 7, Number 4 Atlantic Science -- New Approaches
2010 09, Volume 7, Number 3
2010 06, Volume 7, Number 2
2010 03, Volume 7, Number 1
2009 12, Volume 6, Number 3
2009 08, Volume 6, Number 2
2009 04, Volume 6, Number 1
2008 12, Volume 5, Number 3 New Orleans in the Atlantic World II
2008 08, Volume 5, Number 2 New Orleans in the Atlantic World
2008 04, Volume 5, Number 1
2007 10, Volume 4, Number 2
2007 04, Volume 4, Number 1 The French Atlantic
2006 10, Volume 3, Number 2
2006 04, Volume 3, Number 1
2005 10, Volume 2, Number 2
2005 04, Volume 2, Number 1
2004 10, Volume 1, Number 2
2004 04, Volume 1, Number 1