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Craig Gallagher is a PhD candidate in History at Boston College. His dissertation analyzes Scots and their religious and economic networks in the late seventeenth century British Atlantic World.
Atlantic history has always had at its heart a simple enough goal: to connect the histories of Europe, Africa, and the Americas so that historians can better understand each in relation to the others. Scholars have disagreed about how best to realize this goal, and about whether it is a goal worth realizing at all, but few have denied that Atlantic history as a pursuit has enriched our understanding of the early modern world. Although this has been particularly true for historians of the British and Spanish empires in the Americas, it is a more recent development among scholars of the French empire. By convening the “Early Modern France and the Americas: Connected Histories” Symposium (Program; #FrenchAtlantic on Twitter) at Boston College on May 2-3 – an event co-sponsored by the Institut des Amériques – the organizers, Owen Stanwood (Boston College) and Bertrand van Ruymbeke (Université de Paris VIII), sought to showcase those historians of France and French North America whose work, either in print or in progress, has extended an Atlantic perspective to the history of France and its early modern empire in the Americas.
Brett Rushforth is Associate Professor of History at the College of William and Mary, where he teaches courses on the history of early America, American Indians, and comparative race and slavery. He is the co-editor, with Paul Mapp, of Colonial North America and the Atlantic World: A History in Documents (Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2008), and he currently serves as Book Review Editor for the William and Mary Quarterly. His first monograph, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France was published by University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in 2012, and has won several awards, including the 2013 Merle Curti Award in Social History (Organization of American Historians), 2013 FEEGI Biennial Book Prize (Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction), and 2013 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize (French Colonial Historical Society). It was also recently named a finalist for the 2013 Frederick Douglass Book Prize (Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition). Dr. Rushforth is currently at work, with Christopher Hodson, on a general history of the early modern French Atlantic. Under contract with Basic Books, its working title is Discovering Empire: France and the Atlantic World from the Crusades to the Age of Revolution. Continue reading