Founded In    2003
Published   semiannually
Language(s)   English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese

Fields of Interest



ISSN   1553-4316
Publisher   Heard Library, Vanderbilt University
Editorial Board

Robert F. Barsky, Vanderbilt University

Editorial Board
Saleem Ali, Environmental Planning, University of Vermont
John Amastae, Director, Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, University of Texas at E
Marc Angenot, James McGill Professor, McGill University
Manuel Castillo, Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Urbanos y Ambientales, El Colegio de México
Ellen Clayton, Vanderbilt University Law School, Medical School
Vilashini Cooppan, University of California Santa Cruz, Comparative Literature
Daniel Cornfield, Director, VIPPS, Professor, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University
François Crépeau, Faculté de Droit, Université de Montréal
David Forsythe, U of Nebraska, Political Science
Patricia Foxen, Vanderbilt University, Anthropology
David Goldberg, Director, UC Humanities Research Institute; African American Studies, UC Irvine
John Goldsmith, Department of Linguistics and Computer Science, University of Chicago
Julius Grey, McGill University, Law; Grey Casgrain
Kirsten Gruesz, UC Santa Cruz, Comparative Literature
Denise Helly, University of Quebec at Montreal, Sociology, Immigration (INRS)
Percy Hintzen, UC Berkeley, African American Studies
Peter Hitchcock, Graduate Center; CUNY
Michael Holquist, Yale University, Comparative Literature, Slavic Studies
Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto
Norma Klahn, University of California Santa Cruz, Literature and Latin American and Latino St
Isidro Morales, Researcher, Universidad de las Americas
Beverly Moran, Vanderbilt University Law School
Joseph Nevins, Vassar College, Geography
Olga Odgers, Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mexico, Sociology
Lloyd Pratt, English and African American Studies, Yale University
Marcus Raskin, Institute for Policy Studies
Virginia Scott, Vanderbilt University, French and Italian
Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, African American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt University
Jim Silk, Yale University Law School
Sherry Simon, Études francaises, Concordia University
Ronnie Steinberg, Vanderbilt University, Sociology, Women’s Studies
George Szanto, McGill University (emeritus), author
Clive Thomson, Department of French, University of Western Ontario
Raúl Wise, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

AmeriQuests is a peer-reviewed multi and inter-disciplinary journal which will discuss issues relating to dislocation, relocation, migration, displacement, refugees, homelessness, crossing borders, storytelling, narrative analysis, multiculturalism, ethnic literatures, postcolonial studies and anthropology -- throughout the Americas. Given that state or legal intervention in these quests is generally contingent upon some kind of oral or written application or testimony, AmeriQuests places a strong emphasis upon the stories told by and about the people who embark upon, or are forced into, these quests, implicating research into such areas as life stories, storytelling, confession, translation, and the literature/law relationship.

We will consider articles written about quests undertaken within or through South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the US and Canada/Québec, and upon issues relating to the crossing of borders as people move from one state to another. These “states” can be geographical, psychological, and social, so AmeriQuests will foster and promote strong work within and between departments and disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, law and medicine. A quest for America can also be a personal ambition, illustrated by John Donne’s description of America in the poem "To His Mistris Going to Bed":

Licence my roaving hands, and let them go,
Behind, before, above, between, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdome, safeliest when with one man man'd

This idea of an "america" as a desireable space is captured in the OED definition, which describes America as “a place which one longs to reach; an ultimate or idealized destination or aim; an object of personal ambition or desire”.

Mailing Address

Professor Robert Barsky
Department of French and Italian
Vanderbilt University
Nashville TN 37235-6312

» The tenth anniversary issue of AmeriQuests has been published!

Vol 10, No 1 (2013): The Crises of Capitalism This issue features two seminal works, by Marc Angenot and Julius Grey, that contribute to and expand the field of literature and law by bringing to bear historical and political perspectives from two of Canada’s most powerful and crucial voices. In addition, the issue continues AmeriQuests longstanding work in the Americas, in the publication of new fiction, and an on-going commitment to reviewing new titles relating to the missions of the journal.


AmeriQuests is a forum for writing and research about real and metaphorical quests towards “America,” defined as either an absolute but an achievable objective, or as some place in the Americas. A peer-reviewed, multi-and inter-disciplinary e-journal, AmeriQuests was founded by Robert Barsky to contribute in original and creative fashions to the humanities, the social sciences, law, medicine, business and social justice. Contributions may focus on questions of dislocation, relocation, displacement, homelessness, American dreams and border crossings of all sorts, from the geographical and the social to the psychological. AmeriQuests also features special issues, student issues, book reviews and discussion sections to add to its immediacy, its allure and its relevance. Submissions are accepted on an on-going basis in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


» Visit Journal Web Site

From the Culture of Borders to Border Cultures , Vol. 2, No. 1

Troubled Quests: An Introduction to AmeriQuests in an Era of “Illegals”

This article introduces the current quests of AmeriQuests, and describes preliminary findings from a research project on incarcerated migrants.

Antropologia de las fronteras en America Latina

La noción de frontera es un concepto polisémico al que se recurre con distintas acepciones dentro de las ciencias sociales en general y de la antropología en particular. Con frecuencia se lo utiliza para designar tanto a los límites políticos entre estados, como a las discontinuidades existentes entre grupos humanos diferenciados en razón del género, la posición generacional, la cultura u otros aspectos considerados relevantes para distinguirlos entre sí. También se suele recurrir a la noción de frontera para denotar los límites posibles entre distintas propuestas disciplinarias, así, por ejemplo se suele hablar de las “fronteras de la antropología”. Es decir que el concepto se utiliza tanto para designar a realidades fácticas como a metáforas que aluden a construcciones intelectuales. Sin embargo, algunas realidades, tales como las fronteras estatales y las culturales, son fácticas y metafóricas a la vez, ya que están pobladas por las representaciones y simbolizaciones que ayudan a construirlas. Lo real se comporta así como la conjunción de la realidad y de su representación, de lo fáctico y de lo imaginario que contribuye a definirlo al otorgarle un sentido posible. Y esto es precisamente lo que nos permite intentar una reflexión conjunta referida a contextos aparentemente tan diferenciados como son las fronteras étnicas y las fronteras estatales, las que por lo general no coinciden entre sí y que responden a distintas lógicas políticas, jurídicas y sociales. A pesar de que alguna literatura antropológica tiende a tratarlas de manera conjunta (v.g. H. Donan y T. Wilson, 1999), no creo demasiado factible un análisis comparativo que conjugue realidades tan disímiles, sin recurrir a la identificación de los factores comunes de ambas . Es entonces necesario señalar que tanto en el caso de las fronteras étnicas como en el de las estatales, la noción de discontinuidad, de un “adentro” y un “afuera”, y la consiguiente dinámica de inclusión y exclusión que generan, es el factor que guía la reflexión que me propongo en estas páginas. Así me referiré tanto a la noción de frontera como al discurso sobre la misma, a la vez que expondré algunos contextos tales como las fronteras estatales, las fronteras interiores, la temporalidad adjudicada a las fronteras culturales y las fronteras étnicas

Neither Grobalized nor Glocalized: Fuguet’s or Lemebel’s Metropolis?

In this study on globalization and its discontents centered on literary representation in the context of Latin America’s multiple modernities, Pastén provides an analysis of the works of Alberto Fuguet and Pedro Lemebel, Chilean writers who, in his judgement, offer perhaps the most thorough portrait yet of the two faces of the continent’s contemporary urban landscape. By problematizing notions such as “the own,” “the foreign” and “identity” in Fuguet’s novels and Lemebel’s urban chronicles, he unveils whether, in the end, “grobalization,” the process by means of which the global overwhelms the local, wins over“glocalization,” a situation in which the global and the local compete on an equal footing.

An Echo That Reechoes: Transnational Activism and the Resonance of Zapatismo

In this paper I examine the resonance of Zapatismo amongst political activists in Canada and the United States. Specifically, I look at how and why activists in Canada and the US have been galvanized by the Zapatista struggle and how it shapes their own political practices and struggles within contexts far removed from Chiapas, Mexico. Rather than signaling the birth of a new internationalism, I argue that the intersection of Zapatismo with diverse communities of North American activists has yielded unanticipated and even powerful results, many of which are predicated on a new kind of political imagination. Often explicitly, these political projects aim at articulating various forms of “autonomy” and interconnectedness in relation to the new neoliberal world order by melding novel political, aesthetic, and cultural approaches to activism, a melding which speaks to the deep and complex impact of Zapatismo upon the search for new political spaces and practices.

American, United Statian, USAmerican, or Gringos?

The text discusses the use of the word "American" when referring to people from, or citizens of, the United States of America. The fact that the citizens of the United States call themselves "Americans" causes disconfort for many Latin Americans, who see the appropriation of the collective identity of all peoples and countries of the Western Hemisphere as a clear act of cultural imperialism. The article discusses the historic origins and the consolidation of the use of "American" in this restrict sense.

A Beating Worse Than Death: Imagining and Contesting Violence in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Between 1995 and 2005, it is conservatively estimated that over 3,600 migrants died while trying to cross clandestinely into the United States from Mexico. Unsanctioned crossings of the U.S.-Mexico boundary have long been dangerous. But the number of deaths has increased significantly over the last several years. Despite the large and rapidly growing death toll, these fatalities have received little critical public scrutiny--especially when compared with other acts of violence involving unauthorized immigrants and state authorities. In trying to ascertain why, this paper compares and contrasts the reaction to two incidents in southern California in early April 1996: the beating of two migrants by police officers, and the deaths of several migrants killed while fleeing the U.S. Border Patrol. This paper argues that the reasons for the unevenness in terms of response relate to hegemonic and interrelated notions regarding national territory, the "illegal" immigrant, and violence. These assumptions reflect and reproduce particular notions of security and rights that conflict with those of migrant, and thus make it difficult to perceive and challenge the factors ultimately responsible for the deaths.

The Contested Gallery: street art, ethnography and the search for urban understandings

Commentary on “The New Latino Immigration: Opportunities and Challenges”