Since its founding in 1994, the mission of the CLAW program has been to promote scholarship and public awareness of Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry region’s place in a broader international context by fostering research and educational outreach programs that illuminate the ongoing contact and cultural exchange among various Atlantic World cultures, societies, and ethnicities in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
Outreach and Events
Historian Peter Wood characterizes the South Carolina Lowcountry as the thin neck in an hourglass, a place where individual grains from Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean were funneled together, only to be fanned out across the South as time passed. The Lowcountry has been both a recipient of goods, peoples, and ideas from across the Atlantic, and a conduit from which to distribute goods, peoples, and ideas. As such, the Lowcountry has played an important role in the Atlantic World and in shaping North American history and culture. As the major seaport for the southeast and the Lowcountry, Charleston reflects, in its history, culture, and economy, its reliance on the Atlantic and its connections to the wider Atlantic world.
The College of Charleston is ideally suited to establish a program on the Lowcountry and the Atlantic World. Since its establishment over two centuries ago, the College of Charleston has nurtured teaching, learning, and research in the humanities, social, and biological sciences. As a part of that commitment, the College has emphasized the study of the region in which it is located, a region with one of the richest historical legacies in the nation. In addition, research and teaching about the Carolina Lowcountry demands an international focus in light of the constant contact and cultural exchange among various Atlantic World cultures and societies.
This program aims to foster, encourage, and advance study and public awareness of the process of Atlantic World change and exchange as it was experienced here in the Carolina Lowcountry and beyond. Scores of scholars in various disciplines concentrate on the historical aspects of the same process in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and other parts of North American. The CLAW Program brings these scholars together to share and develop a more global perspective on local histories.