Atlantic World Forum: Reimagining the Online Scholarly Roundtable, Reshaping the Global Digital Humanities, Reframing Circum-Atlantic Cultural Histories

Atlantic World Forum harnesses the digital potential of the scholarly roundtable to foster international dialogues around specific topics in circum-Atlantic cultural history. Partnering with a larger French-Brazilian-led project, Atlantic World Forum assembles a group of five to seven scholars from various countries for each roundtable, which focuses on a particular theme (such as music, food, cultural diplomacy, migrations ports, literacy, or sports, and conceptual approaches to the Atlantic World itself, including comparisons of the literatures on the transatlantic, circum-Atlantic, cis-Atlantic, diasporic, Black Atlantic, Global South, Lusophone, Hispanophone, Francophone and Anglophone worlds, imperial, colonial, postcolonial, decolonizing, material culture, symbolic exchange, linguistic approaches, and the history of capitalism). Two different thematic roundtables will be published each year.

The roundtables generally culminate in a multimedia essay by each individual scholar, based on original research, however it also includes numerous opportunities for collaboration among the participating scholars and other invited commenters. Grounded in cultural history, the project encourages robust interdisciplinary participation not only by historians, but also by literary scholars, geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, cultural theorists, cultural critics, and other experts with an interest in Atlantic World history, broadly conceived. During the development of the essays, the participating scholars collaborate extensively on a digital platform that makes possible interactive exchange. Collaborations include bibliographic and historiographic annotation and dialogue about existing scholarship; the sharing and discussion of particular primary sources and empirical data; exchanging of drafts throughout the research and writing process; visualizations, mapping, network analysis, tagging, and text-mining of evidence and arguments; and more. This online work becomes part of the final roundtable alongside the culminating essays, presenting the process of collaboration that led up to the final forum as part of its scholarly contribution.

In this way, Atlantic World Forum offers new insights into Atlantic World history by creating a new mode of intercultural scholarly communication and publication that models what the global digital humanities might be and do. The project builds on the best practices of historical and critical inquiry, enhancing them with digital capacities to create new connections as well as new forms of research, dialogue, and writing. From the earliest research and drafting stages of each roundtable through publication and subsequent commentary, a community of international, intercultural scholarship emerges on the very topic of international, intercultural circulation through an ongoing call-and-response dynamic made possible by digital technology and presented on one curated website.