American Studies: The Basics is an accessible and concise introduction that aims to unpack what American studies does and why it matters.
From Moby-Dick to baseball, Hollywood westerns to #BlackLivesMatter, and Disneyland to the U.S. Supreme Court, American studies engages with a myriad of topics in its efforts to understand what the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard called ‘social and cultural America.’ The book begins by considering how America was studied before American studies’ emergence as a recognized discipline in the mid-twentieth century. Successive chapters then explore the rise of American studies, its varied subjects, its distinctive methods of research, its geographical framing, and its politics. Throughout the book, explanatory examples are drawn from across American history and culture. Photographs are examined alongside novels, and historical monuments discussed next to films. The text offers an ideal way into an exciting academic subject of continuing growth and relevance.
This book is a must read for those studying and with an interest in American studies.
Table of Contents
0. Introduction 1. Studying America before American studies 2. The rise of American studies 3. The subjects of American studies 4. Methods and models of American studies 5. The scales of American studies 6. The politics of American studies 7. Conclusion
Andrew Dix teaches American studies at Loughborough University, UK. His research interests include African American culture, Hollywood stardom and film exhibition.