New York University’s Department of History offers a Ph.D. concentration in the study of the Atlantic world. A growing field, Atlantic world history encompasses research on trends spanning Africa, the Americas, and Europe; comparative analysis of Atlantic historical processes; and histories of any of the subregions of the Atlantic world involved in the creation of early modern and modern systems. The field builds on the study of empire and colonization—a particular strength of the NYU history faculty—and incorporates a range of interdisciplinary approaches, including cultural history and ethnohistory.
Within the history department, there is much discussion and exchange between students and faculty in the Atlantic field and those in the traditional national fields as well as others working in transnational fields such as African Diaspora. Because this field is necessarily interdisciplinary, PhD students in Atlantic history are encouraged to take one or more courses outside the department in a variety of departments from anthropology to literature.
Students and faculty engaged in Atlantic history at NYU meet regularly in the Atlantic World Workshop, established in 1997, a forum for the exchange of ideas among scholars of the humanities and social sciences with interests in the history of the Atlantic world. Workshop participants have addressed such themes as Atlantic diasporas, slavery, cross-regional political and religious movements, literature and language, gender, and Atlantic trade, with an emphasis on the period between 1500 and 1900. The Workshop is open to discussion of all relevant topics and theoretical perspectives within the field and especially encourages debate about new approaches and ideas. The Workshop sponsors regular sessions during the academic year to discuss works in progress by both junior and senior researchers. Papers are circulated in advance, and all sessions are open to both members of the Atlantic world history field of the NYU History Department and the wider scholarly community.
The Department of History and the Atlantic History field sponsor the annual Anson G. Phelps Lecture, named for one of NYU's founders.