Readings on the History of the Atlantic World

J.M.W. Turner’s “The Slave Ship,” 1840 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Several months ago, Five Books published a list of 5 books on the Atlantic World, which included some notable omissions. While not exhaustive, the purpose of this reading list is to better capture the depth and diversity of the field and acknowledge the intellectual contributions of women and scholars of color. Several of the scholars included in this list have produced additional books that may be of interest, and we encourage readers to explore their work further. In organizing this list, we attempted to de-emphasize the structures of empire. We begin with contributions that focus on the Indigenous and African peoples of the Atlantic World, then follow movement across the Atlantic Ocean. We conclude with contributions that discuss connections between South America, the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and Europe and the Atlantic World. 

*The authors wish to thank Ana Lucia Araujo, Vanessa Ogle, Marissa Rhodes, Christian Ayne Crouch, Danielle Terrazas Williams, and Rebecca Goetz for their input.

Indigenous Atlantic
African Atlantic
The Atlantic World
South America
The Caribbean
Central America
North America

Vanessa M. Holden is an assistant professor of History and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. Holden’s current book project, Surviving Southampton: Gender, Community, Resistance and Survival During the Southampton Rebellion of 1831 (University of Illinois Press), explores the contributions that African American women and children, free and enslaved, made to the Southampton Rebellion of 1831, also called Nat Turner’s Rebellion. In addition to her work on enslaved women and slave rebellion, Holden also co-organizes the Queering Slavery Working Group with Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins University). Follow her on Twitter @drvholden.

Jessica Parr is an intellectual and cultural historian (ca. 1660-1860), with interdisciplinary interests in the print culture and the religious and political thought of the Black Atlantic. She also researches and teachings in the Digital Humanities. She is the author of Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of a Religious Icon (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). She is currently at work on a manuscript on the evolution of Black thought. Parr is a member of the Editorial Board of The Programming Historian and serves on the Executive Board of the New England Historical Association. She teaches at Simmons College in Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ProvAtlantic.

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