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What the ASA Does

The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.

Chartered in 1951, the American Studies Association now has nearly 5,000 individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers to our official journal.

* Together these members represent many fields of inquiry, such as history,  literature, religion, art and architecture, philosophy, music, science, folklore, ethnic studies, anthropology, material culture, museum studies, sociology, government, communications, education, library science, gender studies, popular culture, and others.

* They include persons concerned with American culture, such as teachers, researchers, and other professionals whose interests extend beyond their specialty; faculty and students associated with American Studies programs in universities, colleges and secondary schools; museum directors and librarians interested in all segments of American life; public officials and administrators concerned with the broadest aspects of education.

* They approach American culture from many directions but have in common the desire to view America as a whole rather than from the perspective of a single discipline.

American Quarterly. All members receive AQ four times a year—in March, June, September, and December. It is available online to ASA members and through Project Muse and JSTOR. American Quarterly represents innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that engages with key issues in American studies. The journal publishes essays that examine American societies and cultures, past and present, in global and local contexts, offering work that contributes to our understanding of the United States in its diversity, its relations with its hemispheric neighbors, and its impact on world politics and culture. Through the publication of reviews of books, exhibitions, and diverse media, the journal seeks to make available the broad range of emergent approaches to American studies.

ASA E-Newsletter. All members receive ASA E-Newsletter four times a year. Its aim is to promote a broader awareness of the complex institutional, economic, and political challenges now facing the American Studies community. ASA Newsletter also serves as a clearinghouse for news of ASA chapters and committees, conferences and meetings, fellowships and grants, employment opportunities, publications, and other programs of interest to ASA members.

Encyclopedia of American Studies. Published by Johns Hopkins University Press with the sponsorship of the American Studies Association (ASA), the Encyclopedia of American Studies covers the history, philosophy, arts, and cultures of the United States in relation to the world, from pre-colonial days to the present, from various perspectives and the global American Studies movement. With over 750 online, searchable articles and accompanying bibliographies, related websites, illustrations, and supplemental material, the Encyclopedia of American Studies is the leading reference work for American Studies.

The EAS forum features periodic online discussions of topics relating American Studies, public scholarship, and teaching. Suggestions for forum topics are welcomed.

Other ASA Publications. The ASA now publishes the Guide for Reviewing American Studies Programs and Departments. The ASA has recently published Locating American Studies (JHU Press), an anthology of essays from the first fifty years of American Quarterly, and the 3 volume Encyclopedia of American Studies. The ASA has also established a publication series of special thematic issues of American Quarterly including Legal Borderlands and Technology and American Culture.

Electronic Projects and Publications. The ASA offers, through Project Muse (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_quarterly/), online access to American Quarterly. The ASA also offers members free online access to the Encyclopedia of American Studies Online (http://eas-ref.press.jhu.edu/) and the annual meeting program.

Scheduled Meetings. Future annual meeting sites include:  November 6-9, 2014, Los Angeles, CA; October 8-11, 2015, Toronto, Canada; 2016: November 17-20: Denver, Colorado; and 2017: November 9-12: Chicago, Illinois.

Regional Chapters. Members belong to one of the 13 regional chapters, many of which issue newsletters and all of which meet at least once a year. It is an ASA tradition to encourage strong regional participation. More information about Regional Chapter activities is available at (http://www.theasa.net/chapters/)

International Activities. ASA supports and assists programs for teaching American Studies abroad, encourages the exchange of teachers and students, and maintains formal affiliations and scholarly relations with American Studies associations in 65 countries.

Annual Awards Program. The following prizes are awarded annually: the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize for the best published book in American Studies; The Lora Romero Publication Prize for the best published first book in American Studies; the Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize for the best completed dissertation in American Studies; the Bode-Pearson Prize for outstanding contribution to American Studies; the Angela Y. Davis Prize for Public Scholarship; the Mary C. Turpie Prize for Outstanding Contributions to teaching, advising, and program development; the Sakakibara Prize for the best paper presented by an international scholar at the annual meeting; the Wise-Susman Prize for the best student paper presented at the annual meeting; and the Constance P. Rourke Prize for the best article published in each volume of American Quarterly.

Governance. A National Council, whose 20 voting members are elected by the full membership of ASA, administers the association. Each year, four or five new members are elected for three-year terms; two additional seats are reserved for student councilors, one for an international scholar, and one for a secondary school teacher. The president, president-elect, and past president serve on the Council. Candidates are chosen by a nominating committee, with ASA members having the right to add candidates by petition.

ASA Committees, whose members are appointed by the Council, collaborate on scholarly and editorial projects, address concerns of the field, and sponsor special conferences and studies. ASA members are encouraged to participate in committees such as American Studies Programs and Centers, Ethnic Studies, Graduate Education, K-16 Collaboration, International, Minority Scholars, Regional Chapters, Students, Women’s, Prize, Annual Meeting Program and Site Resources, and in special task forces, projects, or collaborations (including the ASA International Initiative and the joint American Studies Association-Japanese Association for American Studies Project) that are created from time to time.


Individual: The ASA is open to all persons who have an interdisciplinary interest in American culture. Individual membership includes subscriptions to American Quarterly, the ASA Newsletter, and the Encyclopedia of American Studies Online. Membership is available for a calendar year only. Persons who join by September 1 will be enrolled for the current year. Those who join after September 1 will be enrolled for the following year. Dues are based on a graduated scale, according to income. International members are asked to ascertain their dues category based on the American dollar equivalents and to remit payments in U.S. Funds.

Institutional: The ASA is open to departments, programs, centers, museums, foundations, societies, and other organizations sympathetic to the aims of the association. Institutional membership includes subscriptions to American Quarterly, the ASA Newsletter, and the Encyclopedia of American Studies Online, plus discounts on association services, upon payment of $170 annually in July or September.