Transatlantic Connections


Course Objective

• Students will develop their knowledge about the circulations of goods,
people and ideas that were essential to the formation of an Atlantic
space that encompasses the Americas, Africa and Europe.
• Students will learn about current ‘big debates’ within the field of
Atlantic history and learn to take an independent position of their own,
adopting a critical stance towards historiography.
• Students will establish links between our present-day world and
certain specific transatlantic connections that were developed since the
sixteenth century.
• Students will further develop academic writing skills and

Course Content

In this course, we will investigate the development of connections
across the Atlantic Ocean throughout history.

The branch of history that has dedicated itself to analyzing the
development of the Atlantic space has come into being only in the second
half of the twentieth century, but the Atlantic space in itself can be
said to have developed itself since the first encounters between
Europeans and Amerindians after Columbus’ first voyage to the New World.
The further development of the Atlantic is fundamentally based on the
interaction between a variety of goods, ideas and people, an interaction
that at times was peaceful, but that perhaps more often took place on
the basis of violence, forced migration and slave labor.

Seven themes about these human interactions will be analyzed and
discussed over the course of a semester. These themes cover cultural
(music & language/literature), economic (mining & consumer culture),
socio-political (spread of political ideas & role of human migration)
and environmental (Columbian exchange) issues. Together, these themes
provide a representative body to comprehend the nature and importance of
the web of transatlantic connections spun over the centuries. Some of
these developed themselves as a result of the establishment of an
Atlantic, while others contributed fundamentally to an Atlantic space.

Teaching Methods

This course will consist of two two-hour seminars per week. Students can
miss no more than two of those seminars, with a valid reason.

Method of Assessment

Assignments & presentation (40%), final exam (60%).


Selected literature will be posted on Canvas. A few important works are:
Bakewell, Peter, ed., Mines of Silver and Gold in the Americas
(Aldershot: Variorum, 1997)
Rafe Blaufarb, The Revolutionary Atlantic. Republican Visions, 1760-1830
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
J.R. McNeill, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater
Caribbean, 1620-1914 (Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: Cambridge
University Press, 2010).
Kathryn Kish Sklar and James Brewer Stewart, eds., Women’s Rights and
Transatlantic Antislavery in the Era of Emancipation (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2007).
Eileen Southern, The Music of Black Americans. A History (New York: W.W.
Norton & Company, 1971).

Target Audience

Students from various disciplines who have completed the first year of
their Bachelor programme.

Additional Information

This course is part of the minor programmes 'American Studies' and
'Amsterdam Urban History'.

General Information

Course Code L_GABAALG016
Credits 6 EC
Period P2+3
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. T.A.E.R. Vanneste
Examiner dr. T.A.E.R. Vanneste
Teaching Staff dr. T.A.E.R. Vanneste

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: