Our Mission | 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, to the Folger Institute on Capitol Hill and the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia, this far-flung interdisciplinary network embraces Atlantic World work in the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Social Sciences.


Since September 2004, AWRN has hosted more than a dozen successful conferences and symposia, including four 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); “Atlantic World Foodways: Africa, the Carolina Lowcountry, Italy, and Spain” in January-February 2014 (see 2014. Atlantic World Foodways), and “Atlantic World Arts” in September 2017, which between them brought together 800 participants at UNCG and in Greensboro. In fall 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2022, the AWRN co-organized seven 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, the fourth at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, the fifth in Tempe, Arizona, the sixth at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the seventh at Cambridge University (see George Herbert Society). 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 1600, with 200 panels presenting over 600 papers, and featured 60 plenary speakers—with twelve poetry readings, six choral concerts, four rare book displays, two dramatic presentations, four books of published proceedings, and one other book in progress. Our conferences have attracted worldwide participation, with registrants from 46 U.S. states, Mexico, Canada, the UK, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Iran, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.


Looking forward, we are exploring a sequel to our Atlantic World Foodways conference, featuring the many drinks and brews of the Atlantic World, from the stimulating and sometimes revolutionary beverages of coffee and tea, through the heady heritage of beer and ale and the quintessentially American Colas (from Africa!), to the delicious, dark and stormy history of rum, and the time-tested worlds of wine and of Scotch, Irish, and Bourbon whiskey—all potent in cultural memory and spirit.


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, Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, 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.