Led by a Franco-Brazilian team of scholars in the humanities, social sciences, literatures and the arts, this joint research project is developing a digital platform for Transatlantic Cultural History to be published in four languages. Its ambition is to describe the cultural dynamics of the Atlantic region and highlight this area’s crucial role in the contemporary process of globalization.
Paris-Saclay, Sorbonne Nouvelle and São Paulo Universities initiated the project in 2016 with funding from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the Fundação de Amparo ao Pesquisador do Estado de São Paulo, the France Berkeley Fund, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris-Saclay and the Paris-Saclay IDEX program.
Transatlantic Cultures’ connected history of the Atlantic region unfolds in a series of analytical essays exploring the multi-faceted cultural relations between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It does so from a multidisciplinary perspective that brings together historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, musicologists, geographers, as well as scholars of literature, visual and performance arts, and cinema. Reflecting on current research trends, these essays examine circulations across and around the Atlantic in the context of cultural globalization, as well as the shaping of identities and borders that have played a part in defining and redrawing cultural areas since the 18th century.
Breaking with the traditional model opposing the West European-North American center with African, Caribbean, and Latin American peripheries, we have chosen to focus on occurrences of circularity and on various factors (economic, political, symbolic) that have contributed to the emergence and renewal of cultural hierarchies between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. We will detail the increasing cultural dominance of the North Atlantic and, of course, the issue of the so-called “Americanization” of the region. Yet we will also examine the bonds between African and Latin American countries in the South Atlantic; the intercultural growth of a diasporic Black Atlantic, and the central role of the Caribbean space in connecting a broader transatlantic world, all of which fundamentally affects the way one understands the long history of cultural exchange among Europe, North America, Africa and Latin America.
Transatlantic Cultures is an open-access, interactive, online publication. Digital publishing enhances the practices of scholarship production, communication, and access to research material, allowing thematic and methodological discussions to be linked to each entry through three broad categories: time, spaces, and topics. The accessibility and sustainability of data are priorities of this project, as are innovative technical solutions for developing content and connecting primary sources and scholarly production. The digital platform will allow the project to evolve over time in a sustainable way that is also responsive to the needs of scholars and readers. A key concern is to elaborate new ways of writing history by integrating written, visual, and audio primary sources to historical narratives, and question the impact of digital publishing on the interpretation and accessibility of research.
All the entries will be available both in English and in the original language used by the author. As funding permits, the contents will be translated into French, Portuguese, and Spanish as well, creating a shared resource readily available to students and the general public in the countries the project covers. The website’s technical development is done in France, supported by the French government’s digital humanities research infrastructure Huma-Num. The platform works using several open source software programs, among them Ruby On Rails and Blacklight. Graphic design work was carried out by Figs studio.
Entries are selected and reviewed by an editorial board composed of 24 scholars, one third of whom is renewed every three years, in order to faithfully reflect the various spaces, topics, and academic fields shaping the project.
Transatlantic Cultures’ goal is to understand how intellectual, literary, and artistic works have circulated between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, contributing to cultural diversity as well as the broader processes of economic, social, and political globalization. Through innovative formats and a new approach to digital research and publication, the project also seeks to contribute in its own way to the circulation of ideas that has shaped the Atlantic region.