Special Announcement

We are extremely delighted and proud to share the news that the 2019 special issue of American Quarterly, “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas,” guest edited by Greta LaFleur and Kyla Schuller, won the 2020 Council of Editors of Learned Journals Award in the Best Special Issue category! The award was announced at the MLA annual meeting on January 9, 2021.

For more information, please visit news. 

Current Issue

Our September 2021 (Volume 73, Number 3) special issue of American Quarterly is now available! Make sure to visit the Beyond the Page section for supplementary content.

Language—and more specifically, the dominance of English—not only is a critical axis of power, especially in relation to colonialism, immigration, and nationalism, but also is a central yet often taken-for-granted and thus invisible element of knowledge production with very real implications and consequences. We thus encouraged two of the foremost scholars whose work on the issues of language and translation have made important interventions to American studies among other related fields—Mary Louise Pratt and Vicente L. Rafael—to propose and guest edit this September 2021 special issue. We have been extremely excited to work with them throughout the review and editorial process and to witness the range of emerging scholarship that looks at the workings of language—often violent but also ingenious and transgressive—and its intersections with settler colonialism and Indigeneity, race and empire, migration and diaspora. It has been particularly exciting to see the many nuanced ways in which scholars examine the complex practices of translation. We are delighted to see the historical, geographic, and cultural as well as linguistic span of this issue, and we hope that it will launch a new phase of research and dialogue that treats language as one of the critical axes of analysis in understanding America in its many permutations.

Past Issues

June 2021: Volume 73, Number 2

The first three essays in this issue all deal with the scripts, frames, and boundaries prescribed on racialized subjects in different contexts and the ways in which those subjects maneuver and assert their agency. The next two essays look at different forms and uses of media in addressing politics and affect. This issue also features an important forum that examines the triangulated politics of the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan through the historical and contemporary US imaginary. Six book reviews are featured, which deal with psychopower, psychopolitics, criminalization of racialized communities, and racialized, gendered, and neoliberal violence in the ongoing colonization of Latin America.

March 2021: Volume 73, Number 1 

This issue features five essays, a forum on the keyword authenticity, and three reviews. In the forum, convener Jonna Eagle and scholars from diverse disciplinary, cultural, and personal backgrounds explore the practice and stakes of measurement and valuation, affirmation and exclusion involved in characterizing something as (in)authentic. The review section includes book reviews by Jillian Hernandez, who discusses works that deal with aesthetics in relation to racial being, subjection, and autonomy; and Vineeta Singh, who examines recent texts in critical university studies that question our understanding of what, how, and why we study in the academy. Finally, in a digital project review, Lindsay Garcia introduces us to Equality Archive, a digital encyclopedia of feminist knowledge that was built deploying feminist principles through the platform’s infrastructure, the collective arrangement of labor, the curation of topics, and the figuring of praxis as central to knowledge.

December 2020: Volume 72, Number 4

This issue includes five essays that address globalism and American expansionism, Black social movement and the arts, logistics of empire, and technologies of settler colonialism. These works are followed by an extensive review section that engages a range of topics and issues. Three event reviews discuss the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration and its companion site, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama; the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, in Dorchester County, Maryland; and two sets of art and performance at Velocity Dance Center and the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington. In Digital Projects Review, Hannah Ackermans examines CriticalCodeStudies.com, a companion website to Mark C. Marino’s book Critical Code Studies (2020). Finally, three book reviews cover diverse scholarship on various themes, including the implications of subject participation in advocacy projects; the relationship between racial capitalism, colonial domination, and the violence of abstraction; and the role of militarized technologies in shaping modes of seeing and being. 

2020 Special Issue: "Energy Pasts and Futures in American Studies"

This special issue goes to press in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Confronted with a global health, social, and economic crisis unprecedented in our lifetime, we are made painfully aware of the tight interconnections of the Anthropocene and reminded of the need to always consider nature, medicine, data, and economics in conjunction with history, politics, affect, and ethics. While we never imagined that we would be living in such a scenario when we began working on this special issue, it has turned to be eerily apropos for our time.

 The three guest editors—Natasha Zaretsky, Michael Ziser, and Julie Sze—have compiled this brilliant and forceful collection on energy. Their introduction, “Perpetual Motion: Energy and American Studies”, outlines the trajectories of the sciences and humanities that animate energy studies, its intersections with American studies, and the stakes of such inquiries. The eleven essays featured in the issue make bold interventions in our understanding of energy in dialogue with scholarship in such areas as settler colonialism, indigenous studies, labor and racial capitalism, nationalism and security state, petroculture, media studies, and gender studies. 

 June 2020, Volume 72, Issue 2

This issue includes Scott Kurashige’s presidential address, “‘Unruly Subjects’: American Studies from Antidiscipline to Revolutionary Praxis,” which traces the emergence of the ASA as home for those from outside the institutional history of the field, points to the crisis of liberal capitalism and ruptures it has created, and illustrates examples of scholar–activist work seeking to build the revolution toward a new social order, such as the work of Detroit-based Grace Lee Boggs. We have asked two such scholar–activists to respond to Kurashige’s address: Curtis Marez and Noura Erakat. 

This issue also features six essays that coalesce and speak well with one another around several themes: species, environment, and settler colonialism; racialization and othering in nation and empire building; race, solidarity, and anti-imperialism. 

Finally, in the review section, Julie Sze discusses recent works on race, animality, and animal studies, while Chloe Hunt examines books on speculative approaches to time and space in Black critical theory. 

March 2020, Volume 72, Issue 1 

The first three essays in this issue examine the complex workings of history, memory, storytelling, and literary arts in the context of slavery and settler colonialism, and ask the questions: Who owns and controls narratives? Whose voice do we hear and read? The next three essays explore modernity, race, and the city through sonic, visual, and spatial modes of meaning making. In a digital project review, Melissa Dollman discusses a digital companion to the biography Becoming Richard Pryor. In event reviews, Harrod Suarez examines the exhibit Ohio Artists for Freedoms, Karín Aguilar-San Juan assesses the Minneapolis-based exhibit Prince from Minneapolis, and Ngahiraka Mason reviews the 2019 Honolulu Biennial. The three book reviews discuss new works in disability studies, history of black women, and social and cultural study of robots, respectively.

 December 2019, Volume 71, Issue 4 

Empire, war, and colonialism; race, gender, and class; discourse, performance, and subjectivity: these are the issues that the four essays featured here examine through diverse approaches and foci. The forum, “Protesting, Refusing, and Rethinking Borders: A Transnational Perspective,” convened by Sunaina Maira, showcase six essays by scholars and activists engaged in a transnational discussion about border violence and border protests in different locations of the globe. In the Event Review, Wendy Cheng and Juan De Lara discuss Desert X, a contemporary art exhibition in the California desert, to critique its failure to challenge the logics of white supremacy, racism, and capitalism. Finally, we have three book reviews: Keith Feldman discusses five recent books on anti-Muslim racism, Axel González reviews four works from the fast-growing field of racial capitalism, and three works on Christian missions in diverse contexts are discussed by Hillary Kaell.

  September 2019, Volume 71, Issue 3

This Special Issue of American Quarterly focuses on life within slavery, racial capitalism, and settler colonialism in the region of what is now North America. It critically engages the history of the biopolitical in the period before 1900 and reframes early American studies toward a new appreciation of the history of tactics of governance in this region.

We are proud to announce that American Quarterly September 2015 special issue, “Pacific Currents,” guest edited by Paul Lyons and Ty 

Kāwika Tengan, is the winner of the 2016 Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Award for Best Special Issue. Thank you to Paul and Ty for their vision and leadership and to all the contributors to the special issue!

The September 2012 issue of American Quarterly (Volume 64, Issue 3) was recognized as the co-winner of Best Special Issue by The Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ).

The journal has updated its Author Guidelines to introduce an online submission system.

 Join the Conversation

American Quarterly is dedicated to being a forum for intellectual exchange among American studies scholars. Good scholarship is only worthwhile if it is shared. Interdisciplinary scholarship in American studies hinges on communication between its scholars, and as the foremost journal of its kind, American Quarterly is at the center of this dialogue. 

September 2021

 Photograph of Philippa and her shadow by Carl Van Vechten, May 1946, JamesWeldon Johnson Memorial Collection, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Bookand Manuscript Library. ©Van Vechten Trust.

To order online please visit the Johns Hopkins University Press website