The Black Atlantic: What is the Black Atlantic?


In episode one of a four-part mini-series, culture writer and curator Ekow Eshun searches for a definition of the Black Atlantic, drawing on the works of JMW Turner, Ingrid Pollard, Isaac Julien and Yinka Shonibare. In 1993, Paul Gilroy published a ground-breaking book, The Black Atlantic: Modernity & Double Consciousness, which has forever left its mark on historical and cultural studies. The idea that there exists a culture which is African, American, Caribbean, and British, all at once, has generated the rich and boundless space that is Black Atlantic thinking. This series explores Tate’s collection and the impact of the Atlantic slave trade through the lens of the Black Atlantic. It gives an accessible introduction to the Black Atlantic, how it can help us to understand British identity and how we can acknowledge and learn from history to look towards the future.

Additional resources

Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity & Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993)

Cite this page as: Tate, "The Black Atlantic: What is the Black Atlantic?," in Smarthistory, November 7, 2022, accessed July 13, 2024,