Current Issue

Available Now: Our 2020 Special Issue, "Energy Pasts and Futures in American Studies". Make sure to visit the Beyond the Page section for supplementary content. 

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. 

  ”Ashland Belle Helene Plantation, Acquired by Shelle Chemical,” 1, 1998. Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

September 2020 

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