American Cultural Studies : An Introduction to American Culture book cover
4th Edition

American Cultural Studies
An Introduction to American Culture

ISBN 9781138833142
Published February 12, 2016 by Routledge
384 Pages

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Book Description

Exploring the central themes in modern American cultural studies and discussing how these themes can be interpreted, American Cultural Studies offers a wide-ranging overview of different aspects of American cultural life such as religion, gender and sexuality, regionalism, and ethnicity and immigration.

The fourth edition has been revised throughout to take into account the developments of the last four years. Updates and revisions include:

  • discussion of Barack Obama’s time in the White House
  • consideration of ‘Hemispheric American Studies’ and the increasing debates about globalisation and the international role of the USA
  • long-form television and American Studies
  • up-to-date case studies, such as Girls, The Wire and Orange is the New Black
  • more material on Detroit, the Mexican border, same-sex relationships and Islam in America
  • updated further reading lists and new follow-up work.

Illustrated throughout, containing follow-up questions and further reading at the end of each chapter, and accompanied by a companion website ( providing further study resources, American Cultural Studies is a core text and an accessible guide to the interdisciplinary study of American culture.

Table of Contents

List of figures. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. New beginnings: American culture and identity 2. Ethnicity and immigration: between many worlds 3. African Americans: 'I don't sing other people's voices' 4. In God we trust?: Religion in American life 5. Approaches to regionalism: the West and the South 6. The American city: 'The old knot of contrariety' 7. Gender and sexuality: 'To break the old circuits' 8. Representing youth: outside the sunken nursery 9. The Spread of Freedom 10. The transmission of American culture. Index

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Neil Campbell is Professor in American Studies at the University of Derby, UK. His recent publications include Post-Westerns (2013), The Rhizomatic West: Representing the American West in a Transnational, Global, Media Age (2008), The Cultures of the American New West (2000) and The Radiant Hour: Versions of Youth in American Culture (2000).

Alasdair Kean is a lecturer in American Studies at the University of Derby, UK.


"Like previous editions, the fourth edition of Campbell and Kean's American Cultural Studies manages to address some of the most pertinent issues in American Cultural Studies in a manner that is thought-provoking yet brief. The text blends history, theory, and analysis into a narrative that is intriguing, conceptually challenging, yet accessible for introductory humanities courses; the updated chapters on ethnicity and immigration, religion, and freedom are especially noteworthy in this regard."

Veronica McComb, Lenoir-Rhyne University, USA

"American Cultural Studies is a key text for students that details a staggering wealth of US cultural history. Campbell and Kean not only look at a huge breadth of sources but they manage to weave this into a coherent and compelling interpretation of America’s ideology that will be appreciated by all students of US history and politics. Indeed if you want to understand how the US affects us all through its cultural impact then you need to read this very enjoyable book."

Lee Sartain, University of Portsmouth, UK

"Richly interdisciplinary and newly updated to include discussions of Barack Obama, long-form television, and ‘Hemispheric American Studies’, the fourth edition of American Cultural Studies continues to provide the best and most up-to-date introduction to American Studies currently in print."

Frederik Byrn Køhlert, University of Calgary, Canada

"The fourth edition of American Cultural Studies provides an introduction that is thoroughly informed by new directions in the discipline – especially, the turn to the transnational – and that reads more 'traditional' topics alongside assessments of subjects that have generally received less attention on American Studies programmes, such as the presence of Islam in the United States, the growing significance of Hispanic culture, and the debates over same-sex relationships. The broad coverage is delivered with an expert knowledge of the field, encompassing an impressive combination of well-known and new readings of key moments and texts, and is supplemented with excellent lists of further reading."

Chris Gair, University of Glasgow, UK

"This is an indispensable guide for students at all levels, covering the key themes, texts and debates of the ‘new’ American Studies. Comprehensive, up-to-date, and thoroughly readable, it’s probably the best introduction available; it is both practical and engaging and I highly recommend it."

Tom Idema, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

I've found American Cultural Studies to be a really strong and engaging text for American Studies students – both undergraduates and beginning Master's students. The authors get at key American themes and ideas, successfully elucidating their nuances and complexities and putting them into useful contexts. The international perspective (from writers not based in the USA) further enriches this look at American culture and the new edition includes timely updates so that the examples and case studies remain current."  

Stephanie A. Tingley, Youngstown State University, USA