Dr. Cathy Matson
Tues. 3:30-6:30, 316 Gore
Office: 121 Munroe
The Atlantic World, 1450-1780:
Culture, Society, Economy
This course will explore one of the most vibrant fields of early
modern scholarship, including work on cultural negotiation and identity,
imperial domination, migrations of people covering four continents (Africa,
South America, North America and Europe), and their adjustments in new
homelands, labor and exchange systems, adoption of strange new commodities
such as sugar and coffee, the persistently shifting cultures and ideologies
of many cultures blending in unforeseen ways, and more. Emphasis will
be on tracing the theoretical foundations and developments of this scholarship,
as well as the content of scholars' findings.
Requirements for the course include two papers of about 7-10
pages each, reflecting on the arguments and scope of the readings in particular
weeks, for topics 3 through 9. Emphasis will be most heavily placed
on reading and discussion each week, and each person will be responsible
for writing short analyses of particular readings during the semester.
These assignments will be made the first day of class. P)lease keep in
mind, too, that this is primarily a reading and discussion class -- preparation
each week is very important.
Please note that some of the topics listed on this syllabus
will take us more than one week to complete; hence, no dates are assigned
to the topics, but we will follow them in the order listed below. Additional
reading lists will be distributed, according to needs that emerge as we
develop this course and as students' interests evolve. Every student
in the class must read all the assigned readings each week -- some will
be in the graduate resource room at least one week in advance, and some you
will need to buy. In the case of required books at the bookstore, buy them
now, unless you are buying them on one of the on-line bookstores, in which
case you should check for their availability now! The bookstore will not
keep ordered books on the shelf past about the sixth week of the course.
There are books to buy, which you can obtain at the bookstore
on campus or by an online bookstore. See the outline below for titles
you will need. The titles that are at the bookstore are marked with two
Numerous materials will be made available in the GRR; others
will be available on either JSTOR or The History Cooperative, and you should
familiarize yourself with using these valuable resources in order to access
numerous journal articles.
My general reading list on the Atlantic World has been growing
at a clipped pace in recent years. A copy is on the "History/cmatson" list
that you use for this syllabus, and you are encouraged to use it regularly.
I will be updating it from time to time.
General resources, in addition to historical journals that are cited
Oxford History of the British Empire, multiple vols.
Cambridge Economic History of the U.S., vol. 1 on colonial era
The William and Mary Quarterly
H-Atlantic – a good list to subscribe to
Papers and bibliography of the Harvard International Seminar,
held each year, and web site
My ever-expanding bibliography on the Atlantic World in the
A word about where to find your readings:
"GRR" refers to the Graduate Reading Room, on the second
floor of Munroe Hall; selections from readings in books and collections,
as well as some of the books for the course, will be put in a box in that
room (marked "H677") many weeks of the semester.
"JSTOR" refers to the Univ. of Delaware's journals storage
system, where you can read or print out copies of articles from major History
journals; go to the UD Library Resources page, and scroll down to JSTOR;
on that page, use the "search" engine there to find your articles.
"History Cooperative" refers to the site of many history
journals, newsletters, and conference announcements, etc. that is run by
a sector of the History profession, and you can get to it by Googling the
term; on the right side of the screen is a list of journals from which you
can select; or, you can use the search vehicle within the site to find your
articles by author or journal title.
The books for this course (marked below with a **) will
be at the bookstore for only a few weeks; it is UD policy to send back
books to the publishers after about the 5th week of a semester; so buy
Outline of Topics:
1. The Atlantic Worlds that Scholars Have Created, in Theory:
Fernand Braudel, Eric Williams, Max Weber, Immanuel Wallerstein, A. G.
Frank, Alfred Crosby, Phillip Curtin, Bernard Bailyn, Nicholas Canny,
Postcolonial writers, and others
Please note that your reading for the first week of class is heavier
than for the second week -- we will be discussing the works for both weeks
together during our second meeting, building on this first assignment.
**Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, "Introduction"
-- this is a short, but dense introduction to the work of important theorists
such as Andre Gunder Frank, Immanuel Wallerstein, Max Weber, Karl Marx,
and others. Please read with an eye toward understanding, "dependency,"
"core and periphery," class and culture, and other concepts that arise
in this introduction.
David Armitage, "Three Concepts of Atlantic History," written 2001,
published in 2003 – in GRR
Bernard Bailyn, "The Idea of Atlantic History," Itinerario, 20 (1996),
19ff. -- also in GRR;
Nicholas Canny, "Writing Atlantic History: Or, Reconfiguring the
History of Colonial British America," Journal of American History, Dec.
1999, 1093-1114 – in GRR, or get from JSTOR or History Cooperative.
Arif Dirlek, a few pages from his work on postcolonialism -- in
Eric Williams, a few pages from his work on the Caribbean – in GRR
Philip Curtin, a few pages on the "plantation complex" -- in GRR
Andre Gunder Frank, a few pages from ReOrient – in GRR
Nicholas Canny and Karen Kupperman, "The Scholarship and Legacy
of David Beers Quinn," in William and Mary Quarterly, October 2003 – on
JSTOR or History Cooperative.
Oxford History of the British Empire (selections of 2 volumes),
and review by Bailyn in WMQ, 2001
Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, Vol. 3 – in GRR
2. Crisis in Europe and its Relation to the Atlantic World on the
Eve of Contact
Jan deVries, "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution,"
Journal of Economic History, 1994 – available on JSTOR
Robert Brenner, The Social Basis of English Commercial Expansion, 1550-1660,
Past and Present, 1972, 361-84 -- copy in GRR.
Joyce Chaplin, Expansion and Exceptionalism in Early American History,
Journal of American History, March 2003 – available on History Cooperative
The article I noted to you in class that is a very fine critique of
the Wallerstein thesis' application to Latin America and the Caribbean
is by Steve Stern -- it is listed in the "theory" section of the Atlantic
World reading list.
See also the "Crisis of Europe" debate articles on the AW list, and the
debate about the agrarian vs. commercial origins of imperial expansion.
E. Rice and A. Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe (1994)
J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance
J. H. Elliott, The Old World and the New, 1492-1652 (1992; repr.)
Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World
Jane Ohlmeyer, Seventeenth-Century Ireland and the New British and
Atlantic Histories, AHR, 1999, 446-62.
Stuart Schwartz, ed., Implicit Understandings (1994)
3. European Stumblings: Outposts, Offshores, and Starving Times
**Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, chapters 2, 3,
4 on fur trade and fisheries
J. H. Elliott, The Old World and the New, 1492-1650 (1992; repr.)
-- copy in GRR
David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, selections from
chapters 5-8 only -- copy in GRR.
Denys Delange, pages from, The Fur Trade of New France, in Thomas
Benjamin, et al., The Atlantic World in the Age of Empire (1999) -- copy
Pages from Karen O. Kupperman, article on Roanoke -- in GRR
See AW reading list for fuller list of work on Spanish empire
Review by Joel Mokyr of Landes work, in American Historical Review
April Lee Hatfield, Atlantic Virginia: Intercolonial Relations in the
Selected papers from the “Lost Colonies” conference of 2004 on early
failures at colonization
Philip Morgan, Encounters between British and "indigenous" peoples,
c. 1500-c.1800, in Eric Halpern, ed., Empire and Others, chapter 3 –
Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New
Harold Prins, "Children of Gluskap, Wabanaki Indians on the Eve
of European Invasion," in American Beginnings, 1994;
James Axtell, The Exploration of Norumbega, Native Perspectives,
D. W. Meinig, The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective
on 500 Years of History (vol. 1) (1986);
Neal Salisbury, "The Indians' Old World: Native Americans and the
Coming of Europeans," in WMQ, 1996, 435-58.
Reading list case studies of Norumbega, the Taino, the Aztec state,
the Mali and Ghanan states, Iroquois and other North Americans.
William Cronon, Changes in the Land (1983)
Alfred Crosby, Ecological Imperialism (1986)
William Claypole and John Robottom, Caribbean Story, 1980
Eduardo Vallejo, "The Conquest of the Canary Islands," in S. Schwartz,
ed., Implicit Understandings
Peter Hulme, "Tales of Distinction: European Ethnography and the
Caribbean," in ibid.
Philip Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex, 2nded.,
(1998), on Brazil, Canaries, Sao Tome
Leslie Choquette, Frenchmen into Peasants, 1997
Anthony Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition
and the Shock of Discovery (1992)
William and Carla Phillips, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus
Charles Gibson, Spain in America
David Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America, Intro., chapters
Nathan Wachtel, The Vision of the Vanguished (on Inca)
Bailey Diffie, Foundations of the Purtuguese Empire (parts on Brazil)
Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America
Allan Greer, The People of New France (1999)
Edmund Morgan, "The Labor Problem in Virginia"
Elizabeth John, “Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds,” S. and F.
in southwest, 1540-1795 (1975, 1981)
4. Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
**John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic
World, 1400-1800, chapters 2-7
Robin Law and Kristin Mann, "West Africa in the Atlantic Community:
The Case of the Slave Coast," WMQ, 1999, 307-34 -- available on JSTOR
Please note that I added new titles to the "Atlantic World Readings"
bibliography -- use the largest file with that title to find the new listings.
See reading list for fuller list
Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
Special issue of WMQ, January 2001 -- articles by David Brion Davis,
David Eltis, Barbara Solow, David Richardson, Herbert Klein/Stanley Engerman,
David Gettus, Lorena Walsh, Stephen Behrendt, Brevor Burnard/Kenneth Morgan,
Ralph Austin, Bernard Bailyn
Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery . . . 1492-1800
David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas, 1999
Ken Morgan, 3 new books -- see reading list
Wim Klooster and Alfred Padula, eds., The Atlantic World: Essays
on Slavery, Migration, and Imagination, 2004
Isidore Okpewho, et al., The African Diaspora: African Origins and
New World Identities (1999)
5. The Dutch Transatlantic in the Seventeenth Century
Read: Chapters from Johannes Postma and Victor Enthoven, eds.,
Riches from Atlantic Commerce . . . 1585-1817 – copies in GRR
Benjamin Schmidt, Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the
New World, 1570-1670 (2001)
David Birmingham, Trade and Empire in the Atlantic, 11400-1600 (London,
David Ormond, The Rise of Commercial Empires: England and the Netherlands
in the Age of Mercantilism, 1650-1770 (2003)
Issues to consider for your reading this week:
Why is much of the work on the Dutch AW based on trans-oceanic commerce
in people and goods, rather than on cultural blending and political economies
of settlement, etc.?
Consider the nature of the Dutch Republic during the 1600s and 1700s
as a significant factor in how the Dutch AW was shaped, as compared to the
internal development -- economic, political, cultural, in other empires.
What is the role of sugar and slaves in the Dutch AW?
What advantages did the Dutch have over especially the English and French
that permitted the former to become superior in AW development in some respects?
What kinds of trends can we trace overall in the nature of Dutch AW
Was there a "Dutch decline" in the 18th century? How would we know?
Why is the debate and political economy of "economic freedom" and "mercantilism"
so important this week?
What range of contacts do the Dutch have with other nations, other peoples,
in the AW during the first two centuries of European empire-building?
What were the objectives of the Dutch in sailing abroad? What did they
(and who are "they") wish to achieve?
6. The Caribbean
**Read: Stuart B Schwartz, Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making
of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680
Review your maps!
**Richard Dunn, Sugar and Slaves (1974)
Barry Higman, The Economic and Social Development of the British
West Indies, from Settlement to 1850, Chapter 7, volume 1, in Cambridge
Economic History of the U.S. (1996);
Chapters by Hilary Beckles and Richard Sheridan, in volume 2 of ibid.
Eric Wolf, chapter 7
David Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and
the Shaping of the Slave Labor Force," and
David Barry Gaspar, Sugar Cultivation and Slave Lifein Antigua before
1800," in Cultivation and Culture, ed. By Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan
-- both will be in GRR;
Riva Berleant-Schiller, "Free Labor and the Economy in 17th century
Monserrat, WMQ, July 1989, 539ff. -- available on JSTOR and copy in GRR
See reading list – esp. sections on piracy, slavery, and the European
empires in 17th century
Philip Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex, chapters
Richard Price, Maroon Societies
Franklin Knight, ed., The Caribbean
Marc Egnal, New World Economies (1999)
Wim Klooster, Illicit Riches: Dutch Trade in the Caribbean, 1648-1795
Stanley Engerman, "France, Britain, and the Economic Growth of Colonial
North America," in McCusker and Morgan, eds., The Early Modern Atlantic
Economy, chapter 9
Articles in Encyclopedia of North America, I:511-32
Leslie Choquette work, article in Ida Altman and James Horn, eds.,
To Make America, 1991, 131-171;
Christian H. de Lemp, on indentures in French Antilles, in ibid.,
Hilary Beckles and Varene Shepard, eds., Caribbean Slavery in the
Atlantic World, 1999
Robert Louis Stein, The French Sugar Business in the 18th century
Bernard Moitt, Women and Slavery in the French Antilles, 1635-1848
Hilary Beckles, essay in Oxford History of the British Empire (do
not confuse with Cambridge Economic History of the U.S.)
7. Economic Networks and Cultural Transmissions in the Atlantic
World. -- The 18th Century
**Week #1: David Hancock, Citizens of the World
**Week #2: Christine Daniels and David Kennedy, eds., Negotiated
Empires: Centers and Peripheries in the New World, 1500-1820 (2002)
Denis O’Hearn, The Atlantic Economy: Britain, the U.S., and Ireland
Paul Clemens, The Atlantic Economy and Colonial Maryland's Eastern
Shore, From Tobacco to Grain, 1980.
Thomas Doerflinger, A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise: Merchants and
Economic Development in Revy. Philadelphia, 1986
Richard Pares, Yankees and Creoles . . . 1956.
Jacob Price, Capital and Credit . . . 1980.
Richard Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery, 1973.
David Shields, Oracles of Empire . . . 1990.
Ian Steele, The English Atlantic, 1675-1740, 1986.
Jeremy Baskes, Indians, Merchants, and Markets: a reinterpretation
of the repartimiento and spanish-indian economic relations in colonial
Oaxaca, 1750-1821 (2000)
Phyllis Hunter, Purchasing Identity in the Atlantic World (2001)
James Tracy, ed., Political Economy of Merchant Empires
Idem., ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires, articles by C. Rahn Phillips,
Niels Steensgaard, Paul Butel, Larry Neal, F. Mauro -- for Spanish, Dutch,
and French empires
Ralph Davis, Rise of Atlantic Economies
J. Price, The Atlantic Frontier, various chaps
Nuala Zahedieh, Credit, Risk and Reputation in the Late 17th century
colonial trade, in Olaf U. Janzen, ed., Merchant Organization and Maritime
Trade in the North Atlantic, 1660-1815 (1998, St. John's), 53-74.
Thomas Benjamin, ed., The Atlantic World in the Age of Empire (2000)
Work of Jacob Price reviewed in McCusker and Morgan, eds., The Early
Modern Atlantic Economy
Perry Gauchi, The Politics of Trade: The Overseas Merchant in State
and Society, 1660-1770 (2001)
8. The Atlantic World of Goods: Consumption, Distribution, Demand
-- The 18th Century
Questions to consider:
Was there a consumer revolution? What happened, and how do we know what
happened, to create such a transformation?
How should we separate supply and demand, consumption and production?
What is a luxury commodity, and how were they discussed during the 18th
What kinds of differences are there between goods such as sugar, tea,
coffee, on the one hand, and flour or textiles, on the other?
Carole Shammas, "The Revolutionary Impact of European Demand for
Tropical Goods," in McCusker and Morgan, eds., The Early Modern Atlantic
Carr & Walsh, "Changing Lifestyles," and Cary Carson, The Consumer
Revolution in America, Why Demand?, both in Of Consuming Interests, (1994).
John Brewer and Porter, eds., Consumption and the World of Goods,
(1993), esp. chaps. By John Styles against the consumer rev., and Amanda
Vickery, on women's consumption
Ann Smart Martin, Material Things and Cultural Meanings: Notes on
the Study of Early American Material Culture, WMQ, Jan. (1996), 5-12,
and article on consumption in GRR.
If you have time, but not requied:
Woodruff D. Smith, Consumption and the Making of Respectability,
Also, browze the Atlantic World reading list.
Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power
Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, and J.H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer
Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Grounds, 1999
Eric Wolf, chapter 6 on the fur trade
Breen, Baubbles of Britain, P&P, 188, 73-104.
Lorena Walsh, Urban Amenities, article of 1983
Phyllis Hunter, Purchasing Identity . . . . Massachusetts Merchants
in the Atlantic World (2000)
Billy Smith, Material Lives article of 1981
Cary Carson, The Consumer Revolution in America (1994)
Karl Gunnar Persson, Grain Markets in Europe, 1500-1900, (2000).
David Klingaman, Food Surpluses and Deficits in the American Colonies,
1768-1772, JEH, 1971.
Grant McCracken, Culture and Consumption: New Approaches to the
Symbolic Character of Consumer Goods and Activities, 1988.
Marc Egnal, Divergent Paths: How Culture and Institutions have Shaped
North American Growth, 1996
Idem., New World Economies, 1998
Philip Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History, 1984
Works by Pierre Bordieu, Fredric Jameson, and Michael Walzer on
consumption and identity.
9. Creolization: Migrating, Blending, Othering
Alison Games, "Migration," paper for Workshop on the British Atlantic
World, September 2001, Harvard;
Michael Craton, essay in Morgan/Bailyn collection
Usner, Indians, Settlers, and Slaves (Louisiana) - selections
Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden, eds., Colonial Identity in the
Atlantic World, articles by Stuart Schwartz, "The Formation of a Colonial
Identity in Brazil,"
And by Anthony Pagden, "Identity Formation in Spanish America."
Ralph Bauer, Ambiguous Colonialities: Creole Subjects in the Early
Modern Atlantic World (paper from 2004)
Derek Walcott, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory
Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
Jenny Shaw, paper, The Irish in the Atlantic World – copy in GRR
Colin Kidd, British Identities Before Nationalism . . . 1600-1800
Jane Ohlmeyer, Seventeenth Century Ireland and the New British and
Atlantic Histories, AHR, 1999,446-62 – on JSTOR
Alison Games, Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic
R. D. Meadows, Engineering Exile: Social Networks and the French
Atlantic Community, 1789-1809, French Histl. Studies, 2000
Kupperman, ed., America in European Consciousness (1995)
Joyce Goodfriend, Too Great a Mixture of Nations (selections)
Allan Greer, The People of New France (1999)
Ian K. Steele, The English Atlantic (1986)
N. Canny, Ideological Origins (2000)
Pagden, Lords of all the World (1995) -- compares Spain, England,
Marianne S. Wokeck, Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration
to North Amer. (1999)
10. The Multiracial, Multicultural, Multiethnic Atlantic; War and
Revolution, Complacency and Crisis -- The 18th Century
**Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra
David Ryden, "Does Decline Make Sense? The West Indies Sugar Economy
and the Abolition of the British Slave Trade," JIH, Winter, 2001, 347-74
Andrew O'Shaughnessey, An Empire Divided: The American Rev. and
the British Colonies (2000).
Patrick O'Brien essay in McC and Morgan collection on Nap. Wars
David Geggus, The Haitian Revolution, in The Modern Caribbean, ed.
Franklin Knight and Colin A. Palmer, 1989, 21-50.
Judith Kafka, Action, Reaction, and Interaction: Slave Women in
Resistance . . . Saint Domingue, 1793-94, in Slavery and Abolition, August
R. Darrell Meadows, Engineering Exile: Social Networks and th French
Atlantic Community, 1789-1809, French Historical Studies, 2000, p.67-102.
Franklin Knight, The Haitian Revolution, AHR, Feb., 2000, 103-15.
Peggy Liss, Atlantic Empires, 1985.
Kirsten Schultz, Tropical Versailles: Empire, Monarchy, and the
Portuguese Royal Court in Rio de Janeiro (2001)
David Gaspar and David Geggus, eds., A Turbulent Time: The French
Revolution and the Greater Caribbean, 1997.
[review work of Palmer, Godechot, etc. in short selections]
Kinsbrunner on Spanish American revolutions
Laurent Dubois, A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation
in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804