Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850

Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850

Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850

Building the British Atlantic World: Spaces, Places, and Material Culture, 1600-1850

Synopsis

Spanning the North Atlantic rim from Canada to Scotland, and from the Caribbean to the coast of West Africa, the British Atlantic world is deeply interconnected across its regions. In this groundbreaking study, thirteen leading scholars explore the idea of transatlanticism--or a shared "Atlantic world" experience--through the lens of architecture, built spaces, and landscapes in the British Atlantic from the seventeenth century through the mid-nineteenth century. Examining town planning, churches, forts, merchants' stores, state houses, and farm houses, this collection shows how the powerful visual language of architecture and design allowed the people of this era to maintain common cultural experiences across different landscapes while still forming their individuality. By studying the interplay between physical construction and social themes that include identity, gender, taste, domesticity, politics, and race, the authors interpret material culture in a way that particularly emphasizes the people who built, occupied, and used the spaces and reflects the complex cultural exchanges between Britain and the New World.

Excerpt

Daniel Maudlin and Bernard L. Herman

Building the British Atlantic World is an introduction to the ocean-going culture of the British Atlantic world as interpreted through its buildings, landscapes and settlements, exploring the extent, diversity, and sameness of the architecture built by the British overseas across their North Atlantic colonies. It explores the many meanings that buildings held for the colonists—and colonized—who built and occupied them and reflects on the profound architectural connections that were maintained between the colonies and Britain. As such, the book draws upon expertise from the fields of art and architectural history, archaeology, historical geography, folklore, environmental history, material culture and vernacular architecture studies, museum curation, cultural history, and economic history in order to present an overview of British Atlantic culture through its built spaces and places.

Driven by imperial expansion, religion, trade and migration from Canada to the Caribbean, from West Africa to the thirteen colonies, and the passage back to Britain, the cultural space of the British Atlantic world was mapped onto the landscapes of the northern Atlantic oceanic rim. Through periods of discovery and establishment in the seventeenth century, maintenance in the eighteenth century, and eventual dismantlement and decline in the nineteenth century, this world was made, seen, and experienced through its buildings: those built in distant, different lands and those built at “home.” Today, across the vast expanse of this former Atlantic empire, buildings and towns remain as highly visible reminders of British colonial rule. Equally, throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, other buildings stand today as monuments to the impact of the Atlantic colonies on Britain. Whether forts in Bermuda, churches in New England, plantation houses in South Carolina, or farms in Canada, historic buildings are markers of a historic British presence, artifacts of a coherent but complex Atlantic culture. While individual buildings and urban centers were fundamentally made in order to facilitate functions and activities—defense, prayer, shelter—they also served as important . . .

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