The Space Between Oceans: Mobilizing America’s Transhemispheric Empire.

Habilitation Project by Dr. Steffen Wöll

What David Armitage termed the “Atlantic world” was, from an American perspective, imagined through a multitude of narrative lenses that embraced a variety of different spatial spatial formats and orders: First, as a colonial frontier of Western civilization that succeeded the Mediterranean as the cradle of European civilization and philosophy. Second, as a maritime network that mobilized the exchange of peoples (including explorers, migrants, and slaves), goods, and novel ideas. And third, as a realm of colonial oppression, revolution, and political selfdetermination. The imperial age eventually adjoined the Atlantic to the Pacific, shifting gears towards envisioning America’s bordering oceans as a transhemispheric sphere of national interests that entailed racial and religious ‘burdens’ of intervention. Utilizing contemporary sources ranging from novels to diaries, the project examines literary, cultural, and other space-making vectors that mobilized or resisted the imperial linkage between Atlantic and Pacific, complicating existing and shedding light on understudied transoceanic imaginations and their impact on spatialization processes past and present.

 

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