Transatlantic Consumption

Michelle Craig McDonald

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561216
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Transatlantic Consumption


The parameters of material culture studies of the 1980s and 1990s were influenced in no small part by the concurrent rise of Atlantic history and its emphasis on crossing national, regional, and imperial boundaries. Indeed, it is the circulation of goods, people, and ideas across and around the Atlantic Ocean that defined the field. Early studies traced migration, trade patterns, or specific commodities, but more recent work has focused on less tangible, but critically related, fields to consumption, such as taste and refinement, and adaptation and creolization. Like material culture studies, Anglo-Atlantic scholarship outpaced other aspects of the field until the last decade, but historians and literary scholars have begun to turn the tide, and the resulting work broadened both the Atlantic regions and peoples considered as consumers, including Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as women, and native and enslaved peoples. This article, which focuses on consumption in the transatlantic, begins with a discussion on the slave trade and then explores the changing profile of transatlantic consumers.

Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; transatlantic; consumption; slave trade; consumers; material culture; Africa; Latin America; Caribbean; women

Article.  7905 words. 

Subjects: History ; History of the Americas

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