Founded In    2008
Published   semiannually
Language(s)   Multilingual (all titles and abstracts must be in English)

Fields of Interest


Interdisciplinary American Studies including cultural studies, media studies and new media, literature, visual arts, performance studies, music, religion, history, politics, and law

ISSN   1940-0764
Affiliated Organization   UC Santa Barbara's American Cultures and Global Contexts Center and Stanford University's Program in American Studies
Editorial Board

Our editorial board members are Shelley Fisher Fishkin
(Stanford University , USA); Alfred Hornung (Johannes Gutenberg University,
Germany); James K. Lee (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA);
Shirley Geok-lin Lim (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA);
Takayuki Tatsumi (Keio University, Japan); Greg Robinson (Universit� du
Qu�bec � Montr�al, Canada); and Nina Morgan (Kennesaw State University,

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) encourages both established and emerging scholars to submit manuscripts throughout the year. Anyone may submit an original article to be considered for publication provided she or he owns the copyright to the work being submitted or is authorized by the copyright owner or owners to submit the article. Authors are the initial owners of the copyrights to their works (an exception might exist if the authors have, as a condition of employment, agreed to transfer copyright to their employer).

Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words, must follow the Chicago Manual of Style, and include an abstract (not to exceed 250 words). All manuscripts are submitted electronically, and we prefer DOC or RTF files (although PDF files are allowed if all fonts are embedded and they are created using Adobe’s PDF Distillerinstead of PDF Writer).

Mailing Address

Journal of Transnational American Studies
American Cultures and Global Contexts Center
Department of English / 2607 South Hall
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3170

E-mail address:
Phone number: (805) 893-8711
Fax number: (805) 893-4622

» JTAS 6.1 2015 is now online

The Editors of the Journal of Transnational American Studies, a peer-reviewed online, open-access journal published by the American Cultures and Global Contexts Center at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the Program in American Studies at Stanford University, are pleased to announce the publication of the journal’s latest issue.

The journal may be accessed without charge at

» JTAS 3 is now online

Journal of Transnational American Studies

The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) is a peer-reviewed online journal that seeks to broaden the interdisciplinary study of American cultures in a transnational context. JTAS is the first academic journal explicitly focused on what Shelley Fisher Fishkin in her 2004 American Studies Association presidential address called the “transnational turn” in American Studies.

JTAS functions as an open-access forum for Americanists in the global academic community, where scholars are increasingly interrogating borders both within and outside the nation and focusing instead on the multiple intersections and exchanges that flow across those borders. Moving beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries that might confine the field of American Studies, JTAS is a new critical conduit that brings together innovative transnational work from diverse, but often disconnected, sites in the U.S. and abroad. In order to facilitate the broadest possible cultural conversation about transnational American Studies, the journal will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

JTAS brings together the vital contributions to transnational American Studies from scholars who focus on topics as diverse as cultural studies, media studies and new media, literature, visual arts, performance studies, music, religion, history, politics, and law, as well as scholarship that deals with ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s American Cultures and Global Contexts Center and Stanford University’s Program in American Studies, JTAS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library.


» Visit Journal Web Site

March 2015 , Volume 6, Issue 1

Techno-Orientalism with Chinese Characteristics: Maureen F. McHugh's China Mountain Zhang

Christopher T. Fan argues that McHugh's award-winning 1992 science fiction novel perceives the twilight of the American Century by offering a "critical realism," to use Georg Lukcs's phrase, of postsocialist US-China interdependency. In other words, it offers a form in which we perceive ourselves as subjects and objects of the twenty-first century world-system's most important bilateral relationship. Moreover, as a novel about US-China interdependency, it implicitly critiques the binary Orientalism that structures the rapidly growing body of work on "techno-Orientalist" formations. Fan's analysis thus extends arguments about American Orientalism's non-Manichean formations (Christina Klein, Melani McAlister, Colleen Lye) into the postsocialist era. The novel's near-future, China-centric world analogizes McHugh's personal crises of professional desire as a precarious laborer in New York City, with the massive reorientation of desires from Maoist politics to market-directed individuality that she witnessed among her students when she taught in China from 1987-1988. Chinese racial form plays a crucial mediating role in the novel because it reflects the revival of Confucian humanist discourse in reform-era China as a way to focus a national project of rapidly generating capitalist desire. Finally, by describing US-China interdependency, this article also generates a theory of US-China neoliberalism that corrects for universalist, Euro-American accounts of neoliberal subject formation (Lauren Berlant), as well as insufficiently subject-sensitive accounts (Aihwa Ong).

Campobello's Cartuchos and Cisneros's Molotovs: Transborder Revolutionary Feminist Narratives

Though "revolutionary" acts and attitudes were frequently claimed in various civil rights-era movements in the US, this article considers the specific meaning of the term in a Mexican-Chicano context through a simultaneous examination of Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street (1984) and Nellie Campobello's Cartucho: relatos de la lucha en el norte de Mxico (1931). By way of a formal allusion to Campobello's revolutionary text, Cisneros forces her readers to reconsider Mango Street from a hemispheric perspective, prompting new readings of her work. Most broadly, it resituates the text within a broader Latino tradition of the modern testimonio, which demands recognition of its sociopolitical significance. More specifically, the formal connection Cisneros forges insists on a similarity between the violent spaces of the post-WWII barrio and revolutionary Durango. Thus Cisneros collapses national and temporal distinctions that would assure US readers (Cisneros's main audience) that poverty, violence, and revolution cannot happen here. To Gano, this radical use of form threatens not just literary conventions (this is not simply an assertion of "revolutionary style") but also contains the suggestive threat that the barrio is a potential site of revolution, inseparable from violent acts. That this is a woman-centered story is significant: Cisneros's kindling world is comprised largely of women and children who are inundated with daily episodes of violence. Often dismissed as political actors, these individuals are transformed in Cisneros's work into potential revolutionaries.

"Ancestors We Didn't Even Know We Had": Alice Walker, Asian Religion, and Ethnic Authenticity

Recent debates about the ethics of identity in a global age have dealt with how to prioritize conflicting local and global allegiances. Guided by these concerns, the fiction of Alice Walker develops a distinctive view of how local cultures and global movements can fruitfully interact. This vision depends on concepts from Asian religions, a major influence that critics of Walker have largely overlooked. Walker promotes Hindu and Buddhist meditation in a context of widespread African American skepticism toward Asian religions. According to widespread notions of cultural authenticity, Asian religions cannot nourish an African American connection to ethnic roots. In response to this challenge, Alice Walker's fiction portrays Hindu and Buddhist mystics as African Americans' ancestors, thus positioning these faiths as authentically black. By creatively enfolding Asian religions into her sense of African American heritage, Walker builds a spiritual cosmopolitanism that relies on claims of ancestral affiliation even when these claims are not literal. This strategy is Walker's effort to create a new paradigm of cultural authenticity, one that allows individuals and groups to choose their ancestors. Walker's approach seeks to incorporate disparate global influences while still valorizing the figure of the ancestor. This innovative approach places Walker at the forefront of a growing number of African American artists and intellectuals who promote Asian religions to American minorities. Walker's work vividly dramatizes larger concerns in transnational American Studies: Eastern philosophy's relevance to identity politics, the tensions between universal ideals and cultural specifics, and the ethics of cross-cultural appropriation.

The Aesthetics of Remembering 9/11: Towards a Transnational Typology of Memorials

A decade after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, all three sites of violent impact have seen the dedication of national memorials to the victims. Hundreds of memorials have appeared in less likely places in the United States and around the world. This article offers an analysis of international 9/11 memorials along the lines of Michael Rothberg, as "a complementary centrifugal mapping that charts the outward movement of American power." It traces well-established memorial aesthetics, such as walls and statues, in a selection of 9/11 memorials located in the United States, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Israel. Richard Gray's hypothesis, that no fundamental change occurred in American prose writing, the works rather "assimilate the unfamiliar into familiar structures," lends itself to examine 9/11 memorial aesthetics. In fact, despite the proclaimed sense of historical rupture, we do not witness great innovations of memorial design but a continuation of known patterns: modernist minimalism augmented by figural representations.

Bilingual Humor, Authentic Aunties, and the Transnational Vernacular at Gezi Park

Mass-mediated American culture and the English language became raw materials for vernacular protest humor alongside images of headscarf-wearing middle-aged "aunties" during antigovernment protests in Turkey in the summer of 2013. Focusing on posts shared on Facebook and Twitter by Turkish protestors and their supporters in the first two months of the protests, this article studies the complex linguistic and visual humor that developed around Gezi Park and relates it to the identity politics mobilized during the resistance. Exploring how the protestors projected themselves as both cosmopolitan (through the use of American mass culture and the English language) and locally rooted (through the use of auntie humor), the essay delineates how "America" can function in local Middle Eastern politics even in the absence of actual US intervention on the ground. Humor at Gezi demonstrates how closely analyzing transculturated vernacular communication can help us modify Western-derived academic theories about culture and power, making the case for incorporating the study of folklore into transnational American Studies.

More than a "Subspecies of American Literature": Obstacles toward a Transnational Mormon Novel

Since the mid-twentieth century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has become an increasingly international organization with more than half of its members currently living outside US borders. Still, because of its US origins, strongly centralized Salt Lake City headquarters, and doctrinal traditions that privilege the United States as a Promised Land, Mormonism remains an American church in the eyes of much of the world. This essay explores Mormonism's struggle to internationalize through the lens of Mormon novels about transnational Mormon experiences. Specifically, it shows how these novels have sometimes embraced and sometimes resisted the hegemonic narrative of US Mormonism in order to understand how these works consider and reconsider long-standing assumptions about the value of the boundaries and central gathering places that have traditionally defined Mormonism's physical, cultural, and ideological landscapes. Focusing on Margaret Blair Young's Salvador (1993), Toni Sorenson Brown's Redemption Road (2005), and Ryan McIlvain's Elders (2012), this essay also looks at ways Mormon novels imagine transnational utopian spaces that seek to conceptualize a future where Mormonism is less tied to bordered concepts like nation, state, and America, and more open to border crossings. While these utopian spaces are not altogether unproblematic or free of Americentric assumptions, this essay argues that a look at how these novels use these spaces reveals much about the genre's potential to explore Mormonism's possibilities as a transnational community and rethink its relationship to its US headquarters.

Going to Ground(s): The War Correspondent's Memoir

This essay considers two memoirs by leading American war correspondents: Stephen Crane's memoir of the Spanish-American War, "War Memories" (1899), and Dexter Filkins's account of the US occupation of Iraq, The Forever War (2003). But it also considers the archive of news dispatches behind both books: the news reports that come to "ground" and authorize the memoir in the first place. By "going to ground," in addition, this essay examines both the interpretive and discursive networks that often migrate from news writing to retrospective chronicle, and the particular situation of returning to the home front that reframes those accounts. Thanks to the work of William Appleman Williams, Amy Kaplan, Elizabeth Samet, Robert Westbrook, and others, we've often tried to think about the reciprocity of the imperial and domestic fronts -- to recognize, for instance, that reports of war often work in concert with home front ideas about national sovereignty, "foreign influence," or citizens' political obligation and socialization. This essay explores what it is about domestic fronts that contains and often silences the news the correspondent brings home. Moreover, it considers how war correspondents' memoirs reconfigure these home fronts in transnational and intranational terms.

Other Issues

Journal of Transnational American Studies, Volume 3, Number 1
Journal of Transnational American Studies: 2.1, Volume 2, Number 1
Inaugural Issue: Journal of Transnational American Studies, Volume 1, Number 1