African Origins of Slaves in Mainland North America

  • Carter G. Woodson, The African Background Outlined or Handbook for the Study of the Negro (Washington, D.C., 1936)
  • Edward Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1939)
  • Melville J. Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro Past, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1941)
  • Kenneth Stampp, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956)
  • Stanley Elkins, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional & Intellectual Life (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1959)
  • Philip Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969)
  • John Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972)
  • Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Vintage Books, 1972)
  • Peter Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974)
  • Sidney Mintz and Richard Price, An Anthropological Approach to the Afro-American Past: A Caribbean Perspective (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1976) Joseph E. Harris (ed.), Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora (Washington, DC, 1982)
  • Charles Joyner, Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984)
  • Mechal Sobel, The World They Made Together: Black and White Values in Eighteenth-Century Virginia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987)
  • Margaret Washington Creel, “A Peculiar People”: Slave Religion and Community-Culture Among the Gullahs (New York: New York University Press, 1988)
  • John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World: 1400-1680 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1992)
  • Philip Morgan, “The Cultural Implications of the Slave Trade: African Regional Origins, American Destinations and New World Development,” Slavery & Abolition, 18 (1997)
  • Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998)
  • Judith Carney, Black Rice: The Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001)
  • Douglas Chambers, “The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade: A Rejoinder to Northrup’s ‘Myth Igbo,’” Slavery & Abolition, 23 (2002)
  • Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Slavery and Africa Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005)

Intellectual Genealogies and Conceptual Issues

  • Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Black Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993)
  • Jack P. Greene and Philip D. Morgan, Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Elizabeth Mancke and Carole Shammas, eds., The Creation of the British Atlantic World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005)
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995)
  • David Armitage, “Greater Britain: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review 104 (1999): 426-45
  • Frederick Cooper, “Globalization,” in Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).
  • Laurent Dubois, “An Enslaved Enlightenment: Rethinking the Intellectual History of the French Atlantic” Social History 31, no. 1 (February 2006): 1-14
  • Alison Games, “Atlantic History: Definitions, Challenges, and Opportunities” American Historical Review 111, no. 3 (June 2006): 741-757
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “North Atlantic Fictions: Global Transformations, 1492-1945,” in Global Transformations: Anthropology and the Modern World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 29-46

General Histories

  • Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492­-1800 (London: Verso, 1997)
  • Douglas Egerton, Alison Games, Jane G. Landers, Kris Lane, Donald Wright, The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888 (Harlan Davidson, 2007)
  • J.H. Elliot, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007)
  • David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Herbert S. Klein and Ben Vinson III, African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean, Second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800, second edition (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Indigeneity and Contact

  • Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2003 [1972])
  • Daniel Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).

Trade and Commodities

  • Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003)
  • Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988)
  • Stuart B. Schwartz, ed., Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450­ -1680 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).


  • Alexander Byrd, Captives and Voyagers: Black Migrants Across the Eighteenth Century British Atlantic World (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008)
  • Robert Harms, The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (New York: Basic Books, 2002)
  • Marcus Rediker, The Slave Ship: A Human History (New York: Penguin, 2008)
  • Stephanie Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)

Labor and Accumulation

  • Richard Dunn, Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624­-1713 (New York: Norton, 1972)
  • Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998)
  • Marcus Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
  • Walter Hawthorne, From Africa to Brazile (Cambridge, 2010).
  • Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994 [1944])

Belonging (Family, Gender, Reproduction, & Identity)

  • Herman Bennett, Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2009)
  • Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996)
  • Vincent Brown, “Social Death and Political Life in the Study of Slavery,” American Historical Review (December 2009)
  • Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden, eds., Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989)
  • Linda Colley, Captives: The Story of Britain’s Pursuit of Empire and How Its Soldiers and Civilians Were Held Captive by the Dream of Global Supremacy, 1600-1850 (Pantheon Books, 2002).
  • Linda Heywood and John K. Thornton, Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Jennifer L. Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)
  • Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 1-76
  • James H. Sweet, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003)
  • Kristin Mann, “Shifting Paradigms in the Study of the African Diaspora and of Atlantic History and Culture,” in Kristin and Edna G. Bay, eds., Rethinking the African Diaspora: The Making of a Black Atlantic World in the Bight of Benin and Brazil (London: Frank Cass, 2001), 3-21
  • Philip D. Morgan, “The Cultural Implications of the Atlantic Slave Trade: African Regional Origins, American Destinations and New World Developments,” Slavery and Abolition 18 (1997): 98-121
  • Stephan Palmie, “Is there a Model in the Muddle? ‘Creolization’ in African American History and Anthropology,” in C. Stewart, ed., Creolization and Diaspora: Historical, Ethnographic” and Theoretical Perspectives (Walnut Creek: Left Shore Press), 178-200

Faith and Fellowship

  • Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008)
  • Joan Dayan, Haiti, History and the Gods (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)
  • Rebecca Larson, Daughters of Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies and Abroad (New York, 1999)
  • Carla Pestana, Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)
  • John Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

Imperial Governance and Warfare

  • Michae1J. Braddick, State Formation in Early Modern England, 1550-1700 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, 1688-1783 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990)
  • Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) Gregory Evans Dowd, War Under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)
  • Anthony Pagden, Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain, and France, 1500-1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998)
  • J.H. Parry, The Spanish Seaborne Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990)
  • John Thornton, Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500-1800 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

The Age of Revolution

  • Christopher L. Brown, Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006)
  • Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009)
  • Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004)
  • Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus, Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006)
  • David Patrick Geggus and David Barry Gaspar, eds., A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution in the Greater Caribbean (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997)
  • David Patrick Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002)
  • Wim Koostler, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History (New York: NYU Press, 2009)
  • Jane Landers, Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010)
  • Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000)
  • Robin Blackburn, “Haiti, Slavery, and the Age of the Democratic Revolution,” William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 4 (October 2006): 643-674.
  • Richard Price,  Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas

This Atlantic World reading list was originally compiled by doctoral candidates in the Harvard History department including J. Zallen, G. Whiting, J. Ostwinkle, K. Keerma, N. Crawford, and R.L. Barnes under the guidance of Professor Brown. It has been revised and added to by doctoral candidate Myra Houser at Howard University.

Rhae Lynn Barnes is an Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University (2018-) and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. She is the co-founder and C.E.O. of U.S. History Scene and an Executive Advisor to the documentary series "Reconstruction: America After the Civil War" (now streaming PBS, 2019).

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