Call for Papers: Special Issues

American Quarterly publishes one special issue per year each September.  Special issues are edited by the guest editors in collaboration with the AQ editors and the AQ Managing Board. They are comprised of a combination of essays that are solicited by the editors and essays that are submitted to a call for papers. Proposals are reviewed by the AQ Board, and the submission process is subject to a peer-review process. For more information on special issues and a look back at past special issues, please visit the Special Issues page.

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Toward a Critically Engaged Digital Practice: American Studies and the Digital Humanities

Guest Editors:
Matthew Delmont, Arizona State University
Amy Earhart, Texas A&M University
Susan Garfinkel, Library of Congress / University of Maryland
Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University
Angel David Nieves, Hamilton College
Lauren Tilton, University of Richmond

In June 1999 American Quarterly published an experimental online issue and concurrent print symposium combining “hypertext and American studies scholarship.” The project, wrote editor Roy Rosenzweig in his introduction, “tried to bring together something rather old-fashioned and established—the scholarly journal article—with something new and still emerging—the networked and digital space of the World Wide Web.” Nearly two decades later, American studies scholars continue to examine the possibilities of digital tools, methods, platforms, and environments as well as the place of an expanded digital humanities in the formation of central themes and areas of inquiry within contemporary American studies.

The 2018 special issue of American Quarterly, “Toward a Critically Engaged Digital Practice: American Studies and the Digital Humanities,” will explore digital humanities as a designation, as an associated constellation of technologies and practices, and as a site of convergence for interdisciplinary scholarship. Propelled by the ever-increasing power of computing and grounded in the ongoing development of a networked new media, digital humanities scholarship has coalesced around a shared set of values: that theory can be engaged through practice, that scholarship should be open and accessible to all, and that collaboration is pivotal. At the same time, American studies scholars in the digital humanities have renewed the important work of investigating cultural and political formations, excavating power relations, and expanding scholarly inquiry to encompass the everyday as much as the exceptional. With this special issue, we seek to open a new phase of this discussion by overtly exploring the connections between critically engaged forms of American studies and the digital humanities. We anticipate submissions that navigate this critical engagement through attention to concerns of subject, scope, and method in digital research, as well as the ethical issues surrounding current digital practice: big data, privacy, and appropriation; canon formation, Indigenous archives, and archival silences; complicity through dependence on available funding streams; and collaborative labor across disciplines, roles, and institutions. We are particularly interested in essays and projects that are invested in transnationality, queer/quare theory, critical ethnic studies, settler colonialism and postcolonial theory, WOC/Black feminism, Indigenous studies, and disability studies as they currently help shape the intersections between digital humanities and American studies.

The special issue will include print and digital components and will be organized into two sections. For the first section, essays on theory, method, and practice at the intersection of digital humanities and American studies, using traditional as well as experimental essay formats, will be welcome. The second section, published digitally, will feature digital projects and multimedia essays engaging American studies topics that likewise address this issue’s central concerns. We imagine that digital projects and multimedia essays might be of varying lengths and completeness. We encourage submission of well-defined and significant projects large and small, including components of larger projects if the portion is complete. Hybrid presentation formats will also be considered.

Submission of digital projects and multimedia essays should include

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

Submissions are due August 1, 2017. Authors must address the guest editors and clearly indicate in a cover letter that the submission is intended for the special issue. Also, please indicate which section, either print or digital, the submission is intended for. Accepted submissions will appear in American Quarterly, volume 70, issue 3 (Fall 2018). Information about American Quarterly and submission guidelines can be found Inquiries related to content or format of submission to this special issue may be directed to aqdhissue2018@gmail.comLearn more about the submission guidelines