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Introduction: connecting and disconnecting with america

MacInnes, A. (2005) Introduction: connecting and disconnecting with america. In: Shaping the Stuart World 1603-1714: The Atlantic Connection. Atlantic World, 5 . Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, pp. 1-30. ISBN 9789004147119

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Abstract

This chapter introduces the book which forms a collection of essays from the proceedings on two conferences on the Stuart World. During the past few years it has become fashionable to speak of the "British Atlantic" and examine the Anglophone communities that came to populate it shores. This collection of essays undertakes something quite different. It examines the wide-ranging European interaction inherent in British expansion and discovers a multi-dimensional, multi-national Atlantic as a result. Spain, Sweden, and above all the Netherlands emerge as central to English and Scottish endeavors overseas and to the extremely diverse populations and cultures that eventually came to be known as British North America. This approach has led to a much richer and compelling picture of the early modern Atlantic world.The essays show the period to be one of collaboration as well as competition and conflict. They reveal far-reaching cultural, economic, and social interpenetration. Today's nationalist and ethnic preoccupations will find little comfort from them. The world they described is far too complex to fit the easy if stylish pattern of Edward Said's "orientalizing." The result has been a book at once highly significant and immediately topical.