CFP: [Romantic] Atlantic History and Literary History (SEA March 2009 in Bermuda)

full name / name of organization: 
David A. Brewer
contact email: 

I hereby invite proposals for a session I'm organizing on "Atlantic History and Literary History"
for the Biennial Conference of the Society of Early Americanists to be held in Hamilton, Bermuda,
4-7 March 2009. This session aims to build upon the similarly titled (and, I've been told, highly
successful) session I organized at the Montreal ASECS of 2006.
Here's what I'm seeking:

"Atlantic History and Literary History"
Over the past decade, a loose consensus has emerged among historians of the eighteenth
century that
Western and Central Europe, their various American colonies (and former colonies), and West
are best regarded as comprising a single interlocked oceanic system: the Atlantic world.
According to
this version of the past, one cannot properly understand France or Saint-Domingue, Britain or
Pennsylvania, Portugal or Brazil without simultaneously understanding their respective relations
to all
those other parts of the Atlantic world with which they traded goods and people. The history of
Atlantic must thus be written as Atlantic history, rather than the national or imperial history of a
particular state or group of states. I invite papers that consider the implications of this turn to
the oceanic for the writing of literary history. Should literary history be reconfigured in Atlantic
terms as, say, Anglo- or Franco- or Hispanophone, rather than British, French, Spanish,
American, Canadian,
Mexican? If so, why and what follows from that reconfiguration? If not, why not? Does literary
history in turn pose a counter-challenge to Atlantic history? If so, what sort and what
consequences follow from that challenge? In short, what difference does Atlantic history make
for the writing of literary history (and what difference does literary history make for the writing
of Atlantic history)? I'm most interested in papers that raise large methodological or theoretical
issues, but the framing of these issues can take any number of forms, including the pointed case

Please send queries and proposals by 10 September 2008 to or via post
David A. Brewer, Dept. of English, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210-1370,

For more details on the conference, go to:
Where better to think about the intertwined implications of Atlantic and literary history than in
the midst of the Atlantic . . .

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Received on Wed Jul 30 2008 - 20:10:08 EDT