The first two essays in this issue examine responses and critiques to colonialism in very different historical, political, and cultural contexts. The next two essays both deal with cultural politics in the age of rock ’n’ roll. The four book reviews introduce exciting new writings in various areas, from transimperial geographies across the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Americas to the history of American food to critical prison studies and poetics, aesthetics, criticism, and experimental writing.

The forum calls our attention to both the utility and the limits of the settler colonial framework in the Latin American context as well as to the issues of land/labor, settler/native, Latinx/Latin American binaries in theorizing coloniality. Three essays in this issue deal with a range of topics on narratives and representations, while three reviews cover diverse scholarship on various historical periods and themes. The two Event Reviews both discuss recent exhibitions dealing with social change held on opposite sides of the continent. We are excited by the provocative questions raised by the forum and the theoretical and empirical materials that each contributor brings to American studies at large. 

September 2017 - Special Issue
Edited by Chih-ming Wang and Yu-Fang Cho

This special issue presents a wide range of critical scholarship that considers the importance of the “Chinese factor” in the global imaginaries of American studies. It extends American studies to concerns with distant frontiers and borderlands in Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific, and with the undercurrents of competition and collusion between empires, past and present. Whereas the forums provide a rich set of conversations on topics ranging from transwar and transpacific history and politics, to the imagination of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the roles of the Chinese students and China in US-China contention, the articles articulate a diverse array of methodologies and practices for reorienting American studies to the rise of China as both an opportunity and threat, informed by the complex and intersected history of imperialism, Orientalism, and neoliberalism. The film review puts a nice touch on the special issue by introducing the genre of “going abroad” films that challenge the “America in Chinese hearts.”

Each piece in this issue of American Quarterly has disparate origins and routes. Although we were keenly aware of the importance of each essay from the beginning, as we move into the production phase just a week after Donald Trump’s inauguration, every essay has become far more relevant to the world we live in than we had imagined at the outset. Although these varied works came to be placed in this particular issue more by circumstance than advance planning, together these works—that address gay activism, Indigenous dispossession, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, carceral ableism, immigration, and deportation—point us to many of the critical battles that lie ahead and offer many important tools in fighting them.


This issue of American Quarterly goes into production in the wake of the 2016 election. The values, policies, and behavior represented by Trump, his supporters, and those he is choosing as his staff are deeply in opposition to the fundamental principles of the ASA community. The election results challenge us to seriously reflect on what it means to do American studies and renew our commitments as scholars, teachers, and activists in this world. Many of the essays included here address themes that are critical to these issues.


This issue goes to press in the wake of the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, followed by the shooting of police officers during the peaceful protest led by Black Lives Matter in Dallas, Texas. The shocking events remind us of the continued need for grounded understanding of the structures of racism, violence, and state power and clear visions for action and dialogue. Many of the essays included here address themes that are critical to these issues. 

This special issue presents a rich array of scholarship that covers a wide spectrum of historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, ranging from World War II Italy and postwar Hiroshima to contemporary Hawai‘i, the Caribbean, and occupied Palestine. The works are also wonderfully diverse in their sources and methodologies, including historical archives, ethnography, and media studies. The forum traces the formations and developments of critical scholarship on tourism and militarism by putting together the essays by pioneers in the field with those by emerging scholars carrying their torches in new directions. The review essays discuss recent books that address some of the key questions of the special issue in different historical and political contexts. 

In Vol. 68 No. 2, Gordon Fraser examines the “emancipatory cosmology” produced in Freedom’s Journal and The Rights of All, the first newspapers in the United States to be edited and published by African Americans. Bridget R. Cooks and Graham Eng-Wilmot analyze what they call “the break” performed by musical works written for the centennial year of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The forum on teaching American studies convened by Julie Sze addresses the pedagogical project in a wide variety of ideological, political, and economic contexts both in the United States and abroad. The forum also showcases the range of community engagement projects that have been enhanced by the ASA Community Partnership Grants.

In the Digital Projects Review, Scott L. Matthews discusses the vast materials collected by folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax that have been made digitally available. Jillian Russo reviews the digital archive of New Deal photographs created by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information.

Among the important Book Reviews included in the issue is Paul Mokrzycki Renfro’s review of books on the transnational politics of childhood.


Vol. 68 No. 1 features essays dealing with a range of topics and using a variety of methodologies and sources. Extending the inquiries on the question of Palestine for American Studies we explored in the forum in the December 2015 issue, Alex Lubin’s essay traces the historical and political context in which the field has developed in the Middle East. Rachel Lindsey analyzes the reimagining of Jesus, the medium of photography, and the preoccupation with physical perfection as white masculine ideal at the turn of the twentieth century. Gabriel Rosenberg traces the history of hog breeding as part of the biopolitical apparatus and racial knowledge. Eithne Quinn examines the roles of New York’s hip hop moguls in the Occupy movement to complicate the critiques of race in the consolidation of neoliberalism. Bryan Santin, Daniel Murphy, and Matthew Wilkens use quantitative analysis and “distant reading” to address the relationship between print culture, literary sensibilities, and national consciousness in the nineteenth century.

This issue also inaugurates the Digital Projects Review co-edited by Scott Nesbitt and Stephen Berry. The journal aims to develop rigorous vocabulary, methods, and standards for digital projects in knowledge production, particularly as they pertain to American Studies. 

Introduction: Shifting Geographies of Knowledge and Power: Palestine and American Studies

Forum edited by Rabab Abdulhadi and Dana M. Olwan

In our forum we argued against exceptionalizing or divorcing the 2013 ASA vote on Palestine from the histories of solidarities and support for Palestine that extend beyond and predate the U.S. academy. Indeed, in co-organizing and co-editing this AQ Forum on Palestine, we sought to bring to our scholarship and pedagogy in sync with the lived experiences of the communities we study, research, and around whose lives we build our academic careers.

Edited by Paul Lyons and Ty P. Kāwika Tengan


Notions about the “Pacific” region have become increasingly charged as an epistemic marker for shifts in geopolitical power (from Atlantic to Pacific), generating both conceptual realignments and lines of critical opposition. However, as Pacific Islands Studies scholars have long insisted—without necessarily being approached as partners on matters “Pacific”—the emerging oppositional versions of “Asia-Pacific” and the “Transpacific” often sublate Pacific Island and Islander priorities within models that originate outside of the Islands. In counter-posing Oceanic understandings of Pacific currents with au courant views of “the region,” starting in our Introduction with resonances of the Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) word for current, “au,” this Special Issue aims to further conversation among Native Pacific Studies, American Studies, and decolonial critique.

Forum edited by Cynthia Young and Min Hyoung Song

In our forum, we asked several scholars representing a wide range of interests to reflect on changes to the way whiteness is inhabited and practiced in the US during the Obama years.  Since we're getting close to the final years of his two-term presidency, it seemed a fitting time for us to convene such a discussion about the ways in which the mainstream US thinking about race had recently been articulated, and is now being rearticulated.  

Las Américas has often been a site of critical inquiry within American Studies, but as the 2013 ASA meeting in Puerto Rico enunciated, a hemispheric approach has become even more central to interdisciplinary study in the field. Volume 66, Issue 3 (September 2014) emphasizes the historical and productive tensions between Latin America and the US and the experiential diversities of Latinxs. As the editors refer to in the introduction, the issue includes essays on colonial histories, sexual cultures, social movements, and aesthetic practices. “Las Américas” is understood in this issue, then, as a reorganization of nation-state based scholarship through affinities, projects, memories, archives and acts that have hemispheric meaning.

In American Quarterly Volume 66, Issue 1 (March 2014), Ernesto Chávez assembled a forum on “Dimensions of Empire and Resistance: A Forum on the Past, Present, and Future of U.S. (Un)Equal Rights.” The page includes interactive features provided by several of the forum authors that draw from and elaborate upon the points made in their articles. Explore the supplementary content from this issue.

In American Quarterly Volume 65, Issue 3 (September 2013), a special issue on Species/Race/Sex, we bring together scholars from various fields and at different stages in their careers to address the species/race/sex nexus from a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary angles and ideological positions. Explore the supplementary content from this issue.

In American Quarterly volume 65, issue 1 (March 2013), Matt Delmont assembled a forum on “Visual Culture and the War on Terror.” Assembled below are interactive features provided by several of the forum authors that draw from and elaborate upon the points made in their articles. Explore the supplementary content from this issue.

Issue 64.4 included a forum organized by Naomi Greyser and Margot Weiss on “Academia and Activism,” featuring short pieces on activism and protest within institutions of higher education, as well as interviews with scholars and activists. Explore the supplementary content from this issue.

The September 2012 special issue interjects into the discourse and conditions of an ongoing global economic and racial crisis. Explore the supplementary content from several articles in the issue.

The September 2011 special issue featured a wide range of scholarly thinking on sound—from nineteenth century noise ordinances to the abstract beauty of sound to the relation of Johnny Cash to Native American soundscape—and signal to the readers of AQ of the critical role of sound in the broad field of American studies. This page includes supplementary content from several articles.

Michael Bérubé on 'the Crisis in Academe'

Penn State's Michael Berube has submitted this response to “Hire Ed! Deconstructing the Crises in Academe” by Gregory Jay from the March 2011 issue.

Enduring Freedom: Public Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy - A Critique

Giles Scott-Smith, Senior Researcher from the Roosevelt Study Center, The Netherlands, provided a critique of the article "Enduring Freedom: Public Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Liam Kennedy and Scott Lucas. The article appeared in Volume 57, Number 2 (June 2005).