Atlantic World Research Network

Our Mission

The UNCG Atlantic World Research Network (AWRN) fosters campus-wide interdisciplinary research, teaching, and creative work that reflects on the peoples, cultures, and ecologies of the “Atlantic Rim”—Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The Network provides leadership in transatlantic studies not only at UNCG and around our region, but around the Atlantic Rim and around the world. With partners from Britain, Spain and Brazil to Italy, France and Denmark, and from the Folger Institute on Capitol Hill to the US English-Speaking Union in Manhattan, this far-flung interdisciplinary network embraces and fosters Atlantic World research, teaching, and creative work in the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Since September 2004, AWRN has hosted seven successful conferences and symposia, including two of the largest international, interdisciplinary Atlantic World conferences to date—“Creating Identity and Empire in the Atlantic World: 1492-1888” (see 2004 Atlantic World Conference); and “Atlantic World Literacies” in September 2010 (see “Atlantic World Literacies” conference), which between them brought together 400 scholars at UNCG. In fall 2007, 2008, and 2011, the AWRN organized three further transatlantic conferences on the poet George Herbert’s life and cultural legacies—the first in Salisbury/Bemerton, England, the second here at UNCG, and the third at Gregynog Conference Centre in Wales (see And in March of 2012, AWRN co-sponsored, at the University of Edinburgh, a symposium on “Atlantic World Rhetorics,” which brought together three rhetoricians from UNCG with six from Britain. All of these programs have registered a combined attendance of 850, with 109 panels presenting 331 papers, and featured 33 plenary speakers—with six poetry readings, three choral concerts, two rare book displays, two dramatic presentations, two books of published proceedings, and another book in progress. Our conferences have attracted worldwide participation, with registrants from 43 U.S. states, Mexico, Canada, the UK, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Iran, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Looking forward, our “Atlantic World Foodways” conference, being developed for January 2014 in partnership with Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, will explore three great transatlantic foodways: Carolina Lowcountry, Spanish, and Italian. Featuring renowned food scholars and leading chefs, we will bring together inquiring minds and discerning palates as we ask how transatlantic contact combined and transformed old foodways, and how those foodways have transformed us all. 

Atlantic World Studies are growing rapidly as a scholarly field around the Atlantic Rim and around the world, and many Atlanticists on our faculty and elsewhere have noted and promoted the continuing emergence of an interdisciplinary Atlantic World emphasis at UNCG. Clearly Atlantic World Studies, though originating in the Humanities, is a field far larger than History or English, Classical Studies or the Romance Languages. As an emerging area of investigation, the Atlantic World encompasses African American Studies, Art, Biology, Broadcast & Cinema, Business Administration, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Classical Studies, Communication Studies, Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies, Dance, Educational Leadership, Environmental Studies, Geography, Library Science, Music, Public Health Education, Theater, and Women’s and Gender Studies—to name the specialties of some of the UNCG colleagues who are supporting and attending our many events.

The Atlantic World Research Network is interdisciplinary without being anti-disciplinary; it is international while exploring the lively creative power of national and local cultures; and it is entrepreneurial, attempting new and sometimes unprecedented things as a vital and forward-looking UNCG seeks new levels of excellence in the community of research and scholarship.