These three books position themselves within Atlantic studies, but despite significant differences in conceiving that frame, they all, to some extent, conflate the Atlantic world with the US. I suggest that this reflex contraction bears out the regular complaints that the field is prone to Eurocentricism, and dominated by northern, anglophone perspectives. Moreover, as the unequal distribution of academic prestige is reflected in our professional culture and its productions, it is worth attending to the effects of global disparities on writers, journals and scholarly organizations, and their responses to them. For Europeans, studying certain issues on the other side of the Atlantic can be a way to avoid facing them at home; meanwhile, the appearance of an African center for studying the US is hailed as a decolonizing event. Yet both manifest the westward pull of research attention that is so often evident in Atlantic studies, including in these books.

There is an important difference … between exploring one's worldliness and mistaking oneself for the world. Each of the reviewed texts could be charged … with sailing an American ship under an Atlantic flag.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 149-160
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.