Call for Papers. Mobility and Movement in Atlantic History

August 19, 2019

I have the honor of co-convening, along with my colleague Shavagne Scott, the upcoming biennial conference of the New York University Atlantic History Workshop.

The call for papers is as follows:

Mobility and Movement in Atlantic History

April 24-25, 2020
New York University

Mobility, when used as a tool of analysis, enables a deeper understanding of the diversity of the human and nonhuman experiences, ideologies, and epistemologies that shaped Atlantic history. Movements can be physical or metaphysical, encompassing not only geographic shifts but also economic, social, cultural, political and environmental trends and transfers. Historians’ use of the concept over the past fifty years has revealed the Atlantic littoral as spaces of entanglement that were highly contested on many grounds. This conference seeks to build on this tradition of using mobility as a central framework for investigating the intertwined histories of the peoples of the early modern Atlantic, and the ideologies and ideas that defined their lived experiences.

We ask: how did the relocation, transmission, and dissemination of people, ideas, and goods affect communities around the Atlantic? What is the relationship between material culture and political or social culture? How did the movement of people and resources (from ideas to commodities) mold, refine, and/or challenge configurations of power in the Atlantic basin? What new methodologies and approaches become possible when we consider the many dimensions of mobility? Movement, of course, can be passive as well as active, involuntary as well as voluntary; thus, how did movement(s) and mobility, broadly defined, shape the Atlantic World, its people, and its environment? What does centering mobility tell us that is otherwise lost, erased, or silenced?

This conference aims to bring together a variety of emerging and established scholars whose work focuses on or speaks to the themes of mobility or the movement of people, pathogens, resources, commodities, technologies, and ideas in the Atlantic World between 1400 and 1800. While we welcome papers from a variety of perspectives, we especially encourage those that employ the concepts of mobility and movement in innovative ways. We are also interested in papers that highlight interdisciplinary approaches. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Forced and Refused Migrations
  • Freedom, Resistance, and Revolution
  • Labor and Work
  • Travel
  • Communication and News
  • Food History and Foodways
  • Science, Medicine, and Technology
  • Environmental History
  • Material Culture and Commerce
  • Trade and (Human) Commodification
  • Social Class
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Disabilities
  • Race and Slavery

We invite proposals for individual papers twenty minutes in length. Submissions should include a 200-300 word prospectus and a short CV. Women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities are especially encouraged to submit a proposal. Please email your submission to Juneisy Quintana Hawkins ( AND Shavagne Scott ( by October 31, 2019.

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