Bentley Article Outline

Topics: Atlantic Ocean, History, Modern history Pages: 5 (1166 words) Published: February 8, 2013
* Historians take national states as focus (since mid-19th century) * Realize importance of large-scale historical process
* Sea/ocean basins as framework for analysis
* Not well for absolute/definitive category
* Contour/characteristics change dramatically over time * Useful to bring focus to exchange

* For > century European/Euro-American treat history almost exclusively to national states * Leopold focus on institution, constitution, foreign policies, political experiences of national communities * > recent scholar broaden scope but in framework of national communities * Early 20th century China/India/other start adopt E/E-A view (property of national communities) in analysis of own historical experiences * Since WWII historian/scholar↑aware that focus national communities distract from large-scale * Influence experience of individual societies & development of world * Migration/imperial expansion/cultural trade/exchange/etc. left mark on world past * Adequate study require categories > than national communities * Large-scale approaches to the past useful

* Large-scale economic regions found for investigation of cross-cultural trade & formation of world systems * Large-scale cultural communities purposes of understanding process of cultural exchange * Maritime regions/communities around major seasalternative to national states/other terrestrial constructs * Considerable influence on historical scholarship & inspired other sea studies * Not prompted general reconception of social space/historical geography * Suggestion arise in context of contemporary instabilities * New conception of social space/historical geography may improve categories reflecting dynamics that shaped world’s development * If continent/civilization/area studies/ nation problematic can alternative constructs near sea/ocean basin be > useful to understand world historical dynamics? * “Oceans Connect” project (Duke)

* Approach has potential to dissolve fake distinctions among distinct region * Draw attention to systematic/long-term interaction done across bodies of water * Maritime regions help focus commercial/biological/cultural exchange that other geographical construct obscure * Must consider problems natural to project & limitations to usefulness * Contour/characteristics of maritime regions change dramatically w/shifting relationships b/w water & land * Sea/ocean basin as units of analysis to extent that human societies interact across water * Less useful when society pursue interests through other space * 16-18th century Atlantic Ocean basin integrated zone of communication/exchange, triangular trade * 19th century after abolish slave trade, etc. > interest on land * No question of reify maritime region into permanent/stable unit of historical/geographical analysis * Maritime analysis susceptible to partial/partisan use

* Braudel seek counterbalance assumption that in 16th century Mediterranean become backwater to Atlantic * Partial perspective have good potential to cast important issue in high relief * But indulging particular interest/concern of specific ethnic/race occlude > historical dynamics arise from interaction among people of different society * Problems: temporal boundaries of large-scale maritime region/spatial boundary/relationship of maritime region to each other & larger world * Thorny & probably block effort to make sea/ocean basin fundamental category of historical/geographical analysis * Any project to construct maritime region need devote consideration to relationship b/w individual region & larger world * Issue: temporal boundaries of sea/ocean basins

* Abundant evidence than human plied waters @ early date & start exchange * Homo erectus use...
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