CFP Poitiers 2021

Poitiers poster


Colonisations, revolutions, and reinventions in early America and the Atlantic World 1492-1848


Poitiers, December 8-10, 2021


The 8th Biannual conference of the European Early American Studies Association, originally scheduled for December 2020 will be held at the University of Poitiers, France, December 8-10, 2021. The conference will focus on the related themes of “Colonisations, revolutions, and reinventions in early America and the Atlantic World 1492-1848.”


For the past twenty years, the study of Early America and the Atlantic has reinvigorated the fields of imperial and colonial topics by focusing on the circulations of goods and people. Much current research on early America and the Atlantic world examines concepts such as « empires », « commerce », « exchange », « trade. » At the same time, the political history of the revolutionary Atlantic is often overlooked as the approach of an older historiography. A number of historians criticize the very concept of Atlantic history by focusing instead on « global » and « connected histories ». Following this trend, specialists of North America have embraced new concepts and notions to study the continent, such as « settler colonialism » and « vast early America ».


This call for papers invites established scholars, post-doctoral students and graduate students to re-examine the fundamental concept of Atlantic history in light of current research on the themes of colonisations, revolutions, and reinventions, from 1492 to 1848. It is also an opportunity to examine the history of transformations in early America and, broadly, the early modern world, by taking fuller account of scholarship on the politics of primitive globalisation. We will focus on the empires that organised European settlements in disrupting and dislocating native peoples, prompting indigenous cultures to re-invent themselves; but we will  also be attentive to the processes that led to the formation of new Euro-American societies in the Americas, often shaped by the enslavement of Africans and other forms of unfree labor. In the North-American colonies, the West Indies, India, Latin America, and Africa, entire peoples and their lands were reinvented by trading companies, individual administrators, theoreticians and executors of empires, as well as by those rare voices, many of who were abolitionists, who developed a critical approach to European expansion abroad.


The social and political revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the Americas and the Atlantic world led to the emergence of republican nations and, eventually, to modern (often exclusionary) democracies.  These offer a second major moment of reinvention through national, tribal, racial, and gender-based conflicts, as well as new forms of identities, forged through war and peace. In recent years, beyond a major historiographical focus on the Haitian Revolution, the term revolution has also come to refer to the second revolution of slavery and the revolution of antislavery in the Americas and the Atlantic world. Its meaning can also be extended to other insurrections and rebellions, as well as to the revolution of rights as embodied in the women’s rights movement in the United States, and to the upheavals culminating with the European revolutions of 1848 and their impact in the Atlantic world, most notably, leading to the French abolition of slavery in the colonies. Drawing on the theme of the 7th Biannual EEASA Conference in London in December 2018, on the making and unmaking of identities in the Atlantic world, the notions of colonisation, revolutions, and reinventions also invite participants to examine the individual stories of those who transformed their lives through imperial service, social mobility, flight, immigration, as well as by their commercial interactions and newly-crafted opportunities to serve as cultural intermediaries.


The Congress may include panels on the changes in Atlantic World societies that resulted from cultural contact and conflict; the various manifestations of clashing visions of European empires and Native societies; resistance to empire and its many forms of oppression as well as and the rise of representative government and the universal validity of fundamental principles.  In sum, we welcome all papers that speak to the themes of colonisations, revolutions, and reinventions.


We encourage proposals from emerging and established scholars in all disciplines for traditional conference panels (three 20-minute papers with chair and Q&A), round tables, and other formats. Sessions are 90 minutes. We ask that panel proposals not be composed of participants from a single country or institution. The programme committee reserves the right to re-organize the composition of panels to meet this requirement. We also welcome individual proposals. Papers are posted on our website prior to the conference.


We wish to focus on the research of doctoral students by devoting a half-day to discussion of their papers. The McNeil Center for Early American Studies has generously agreed to offer support for the travel expenses of a limited number of graduate student presenters from North America.


Please note that all program participants will be required to register for the conference. To facilitate participation by younger scholars we offer a reduced conference fee to graduate students and can provide free accommodation to presenters who are graduate students or who are within two years of the award of their PhD and not in full-time academic employment.



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