The Atlantic World

History 100E

Fall 2017
170 Barrows
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2
Class Number: 

This course explores the history of the four continents on the Atlantic rim—Europe, Africa, North America, and South America—and their increasing connectedness in the wake of Columbus's voyage in 1492. It takes the Atlantic Ocean and its peripheries as a common zone of interaction, where peoples, cultures, ideas, goods, foodstuffs, and pathogens came into contact from diverse regions. The course begins with a portrait of European, African, and American civilizations c. 1400 and ends with an overview of the protracted struggles for decolonization and emancipation from slavery in the nineteenth-century Americas. Throughout these five centuries of profound transformation, we will study conflict and encounter between the regions many different peoples. Topics for discussion include European colonial expansion and the development of an increasingly integrated economic system, the destruction and reconfiguration of indigenous worlds, the rise of African slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and the strategies of accommodation, resistance, and rebellion employed by each of these groups. Unfamiliar perspectives will be offered on familiar stories, and students will frequently be asked to think comparatively about parallel processes at work in different regions, as well as the many connections between them. Requirements include two papers, a midterm, and final exam. No prerequisites.