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 Atlantic World work in the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Social Sciences.
Since September 2004, AWRN has hosted seven successful conferences and symposia, including three 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); “Atlantic World Literacies” in September 2010 (see “Atlantic World Literacies” conference); and “Atlantic World Foodways: Africa, the Carolina Lowcountry, Italy, and Spain” in January-February 2014 (see 2014. Atlantic World Foodways), which between them brought together 700 participants at UNCG and in Greensboro. 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 http://www.uncg.edu/eng/george_herbert/). 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 over 1100, with 120 panels presenting nearly 400 papers, and featured 40 plenary speakers—with six poetry readings, three choral concerts, two rare book displays, two dramatic presentations, two books of published proceedings, and two other books 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, possible future projects include a second “Atlantic World Foodways” conference featuring other cuisines; a symposium on the place of Greensboro’s FedEx Hub in the Atlantic World; a conference or symposium on the Medieval Atlantic World as a region of the imagination and an actual zone of contact; and a conference on building and maintaining digital Transatlantic archives.
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.