American Studies Reading List

The following is a selective bibliography including some introductory and landmark American Studies texts. Where possible we have linked these articles to publicly accessible databases. When that was not possible, we have connected them to resources available to current Stockton students who will be able to access them using their user names and passwords.

Encyclopedic Entries:

“American Studies: An Overview.” Encyclopedia of American Studies. John Hopkins
University. 2012.

“American Studies: Approaches and Concepts.” Encyclopedia of American Studies.
John Hopkins University. 2012.

Articles and Book Chapters:

Baym, Nina. “Melodramas of Beset Manhood: How Theories of American Fiction
Exclude Women Authors.” American Quarterly 33 (1981): 123–139.

This article examines the exclusion of women from anthologies and theories, but
especially the list of great literary works—the canon. This piece was also
instrumental in the critical analysis of American literary criticism itself.

Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. “Crossroads of Cultures: The Transnational Turn in American
Studies—Presidential Address to the American Studies Association, November 12,
2004.” American Quarterly 57, no. 1 (March 2005): 17–57.

This Presidential Address to the ASA analyzes the recent global turn in American
Studies, as well as several other academic fields. It illustrates what it means for
American Studies to incorporate transnationalism.

Gustafson, Sandra M. “Histories of Democracy and Empire.” American Quarterly 59,
no. 1 (March 2007): 107–133.

This article uses the concepts of “democracy” and “empire” to analyze the transition
within the field of American Studies from what is known as “early American
Studies”—concentrating on the colonies and the Early Republic—to “U.S.-American
Studies—concentrating on the U.S. from 1835 to the present.

Kaplan, Amy. “Left Alone With America.” Introduction to Amy Kaplan and Donald E.
Pease, eds. Cultures of United States Imperialism. Durham: Duke University Press,           1993.

This introduction is critical of the origins of “American Studies,” referring to Perry
Miller’s fanciful epiphany of the “meaning of America” while on the banks of the
Congo River, and traces the consequences of such a beginning to American Studies.

Kraft, Jesse. “American Studies at Stockton: An Opportunity to Learn about
America, the World, and Yourself.” The Argo 82, no. 8 (October 2012): 6.

Radway, Janice. “What’s in a Name? Presidential Address to the American Studies
Association, 20 November, 1998.” American Quarterly 51, no. 1 (1999): 1–32.

This Presidential Address focuses on the changing name of American Studies by
newer generations of scholars, and what exactly it means for the field to be
“American.” Radway attempts to further the goals and acceptance of studies such
as “African-American Studies,” “Chicano Studies,” and “Asian-American Studies.”

Washington, Mary Helen. “Disturbing the Peace: What Happens to American Studies
When You Put African American Studies at the Center?” The Black Scholar 22
(Summer 1992): 3–9.

This address uses three “texts” that embody shortcomings in the field of American
Studies, as well as providing insight as to how the institutional and structural
hierarchies can be challenged and reconstructed. The three works are

Wedding Band, a 1964 dramatic production by Alice Childress; Lone Star, a 1996           film by John Sayles, and Octoroon, a 1997 CD by Laura Love.

Wise, Gene. “’Paradigm Dramas’ in American Studies: A Cultural and Institutional
History.” American Quarterly 31, no. 3 (1979): 293–337.

This article traces the history of America Studies and traces its intersections with
other disciplines.


Castronovo, Russ and Susan Gillman, eds. States of Emergency: The Object of
American Studies
. University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

This anthology considers the methodologies and political goals of particular objects
of study in American Studies. It calls researchers both to consider objects and to use
their scholarship to object — to engage in political activism.

Maddox, Lucy, ed. Locating American Studies: The Evolution of a Discipline.
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

This is a collection of essays central to the formation and transformations of
American Studies since its foundation in the 1950s. The essays were published
between 1950 and the mid-1990s.

Radway, Janice, Kevin Gaines, Barry Shank, Penny Von Eschen, eds. American Studies:
An Anthology
. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

This American Studies anthology includes samples of important recent work in
American Studies organized into the areas of inquiry central to the “new” American
Studies (e.g. “Performances and Practices,” “Memory and Re-Memory”). Each
section includes an introductory essay that provides an overview of that area’s
central concerns, questions, and arguments.


Lipsitz, George. American Studies in a Moment of Danger. Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2001.

Pease, Donald E. The New American Exceptionalism. Minneaspolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2009.

Rowe, John Carlos. The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies. Open
Humanities Press, 2012.