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,
USA).

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: jtas.editor@gmail.com
Phone number: (805) 893-8711
Fax number: (805) 893-4622

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.

 

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

This Spring 2010 issue features a previously unpublished essay by W.E.B. Du Bois and an article by Mark Twain that has not been reprinted since its initial publication in 1868, as well as contributions from scholars based in Argentina, Canada, Japan, Korea, Spain and the United States. In addition to new articles that examine questions in American Studies as the field intersects productively and problematically with other national cultures, societies, politics and histories, the journal contains excerpts from newly-published books in transnational American Studies (in the Forward section),  and select re-publication of significant contributions to the field (in the Reprise section).

The Afro-American


This hitherto unpublished essay by W. E. B. Du Bois, the text titled "The Afro-American," which likely dates to the late autumn of 1894 or the winter of 1895, is an early attempt by the young scholar to define for himself the contours of the situation of the Negro, or "Afro-American," in the United States in the mid-1890s. It is perhaps the earliest full text expressing his nascent formulations of both the global "problem of the color-line" and the sense of "double-consciousness" among African Americans in North America.

Of Horizon: An Introduction to The Afro-American by W. E. B. Du Boiscirca 1894


This article offers an introduction to the hitherto unpublished early essay by W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Afro-American.” More precisely it outlines the problematic of the essay and places the essay amidst Du Bois’s writings of the 1890s and the production of the text that became The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches of 1903. In so doing it proposes a path for the initial reading of this essay by rendering thematic the worldwide horizon that framed Du Bois’s projection from this early moment and by bringing into relief the interwoven motifs of the global “problem of the color-line” and the sense of “double-consciousness” for the “Afro-American” in the United States.

Housing the “Other” Half: American Studies’ Global Urban Turn


Over the course of its short lifetime, the discipline of American studies has utilized a series of self-defining metaphors. With each successive paradigm shift in the field, each of these disciplinary figures, in turn, has been found wanting, and so replaced. American studies' current, if not consensual, metaphor -- the "border" -- resembles not a few of its predecessors in that it is spatial in nature and effectively doubles as a figuration of the greater nation. The premise of this paper is that the "border," like the figures that came before it, has outlived its serviceable purpose for a discipline that continues to evolve.

This essay proposes the global city, or, more accurately, the global slum, as a post-"border" metaphor peculiarly adapted to the principled transnationalism that now defines American studies for many subscribing students and professionals. On the one hand, the urban has become a prevailing demographic fact in this, the new century. Thus, the multiethnic, multinational world metropolis recommends itself as a more-than-metaphor for the dynamic cultural contact that typifies ascendant hemispheric conceptions of the Americas. On the other hand, the figure of the peripheral city similarly, and spatially, evokes the majority "center" and minority "margin" model of American studies that critics would claim inhibits total global integration among the discipline's geoculturally diverse practitioners, many of whom reside outside the continental United States. This essay conceptually deploys the world city to explore beyond these professional/territorial "borders." Its three condensed case studies -- first, of Gilded Age Manhattan, second, of the modern Turkish metropolis, and third, of a reunified Germany's ethnic ghetto -- constitute a brisk figurative exercise in "marginal" urban migration, wherein resides an alternate model, and metaphor, of American studies praxis today.

From the End of History to Nostalgia: The Manchurian Candidate, Then and Now


This article puts the cold war in a broader historical perspective by juxtaposing the original Hollywood film The Manchurian Candidate (1962) with the 2004 remake as an occasion to ponder the (dis)continuities of history from the Korean War to the Gulf War. It reads both versions as nostalgia films in that they relegate the historical events of the Korean War and the Gulf War into floating background images as the sexualized/feminized Asian other or as the vilified Arab “enemy.” As a result, specific histories from Korea to Iraq become silenced while simultaneously represented through popular clichs of Red Queens, Yellow Perils, and “fanatic” suicide bombers, replacing history with nostalgia for home—the mythic Virgin Land of the American national imaginary. The American millenarian dream of utopia is haunted by the anxiety about doom as the desire for home stumbles upon repressed unhomely presences, upon the paradoxical impulse to remember by forgetting.

Disorienting the Furniture: The Transgressive Journalism of Alfonsina Storni and Charlotte Perkins Gilman


Drawing on the journalistic prose of two major literary figures of early-twentieth-century Argentina and the U.S., this article breaches cultural, national, and geographical frontiers by comparing the discursive gestures through which Alfonsina Storni and Charlotte Perkins Gilman re-appropriate for themselves the canonical genre of essay-writing to advance their feminist agendas. By undermining the presuppositions underlying so-called feminine publications of their time, both women carry out an intriguing disarticulation of the classic private/public divide that empowers their female readers to conceive of female subjectivity in new and innovative ways.

Almost a mythic figure in the world of Latin American letters, Alfonsina Storni has achieved world renown as Argentina’s most famous “poetess of love,” thus obscuring her substantial contributions to Argentinean periodical literature. Even though Charlotte Perkins Gilman has become one of the most influential figures in the history of American First-Wave Feminism, that reputation is largely founded on her feminist fiction and her book Women and Economics, while her journalistic accomplishments have received considerably less attention. The transnational dialogue between these two writers conjured up in this article unearths this more or less neglected corpus to reveal the ways in which both subverted traditional definitions of gender through a transgressive use of discursive spaces heavily coded as “feminine” by patriarchal ideology.

The Making of a Hemispheric Intellectual-Statesman: Leo S. Rowe in Argentina (19061919)


Leo S. Rowe, before becoming director of the Pan-American Union, came to Argentina to gather information, connect with local intellectuals, and disseminate the basic ideas of an emerging inter-American system of cultural and intellectual cooperation that would be the backbone of Pan-Americanism. This paper deals with the interaction and communication between the Hemispheric Intellectual-Statesman and its local counterparts, focusing on the dynamic of the imperial hegemonic process. Argentine intellectuals failed to accept Rowe's progressive ideas about modern corporations, government by public opinion, and social reform. But they were quite ready to entertain ideas of inter-American cooperation with the powerful Northern Neighbor, vindicating at the same time their affinity with and belonging to "European culture."

The Junkyard in the Jungle: Transnational, Transnatural Nature in Karen Tei Yamashita's Through the Arc of the Rain Forest


In this new millennium the relatively young field of ecocriticism has had to face important transdisciplinary, transnational, and transnatural challenges. This article attempts to demonstrate how two of the major changes that environmental criticism is currently undergoing, the transnational turn and the transnatural challenge, have both been encoded in Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990), the first novel published by Karen Tei Yamashita. I particularly focus on a significant episode in Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, when a peculiar anthropogenic ecosystem is discovered, and interpret it according to Leo Marx’s classic paradigm of “the machine in the garden.” I intend to prove that Yamashita’s novel not only revisits the old master theory but also revamps it by destabilizing the classic human-nature divide inherent in first-wave ecocriticism and by adding the transnational ingredient. Thus, the machine-in-the-garden paradigm is updated in order to incorporate the broadening of current environmental criticism, both literally (globalization) and conceptually (transnatural nature). While at times Marx’s paradigm may metamorphose in intriguing ways, the old trope also corroborates its continuing validity. Though filtered by the sieve of globalization and shaken by the emergence of cyborg ecosystems, “the machine in the garden” has survived as a compelling ecocritical framework, even if it occasionally mutates into a junkyard in the jungle.

The Object of Study; or, Are We Being Transnational Yet?


This article polemically engages with recent trends and particular interventions in American transnational studies. It argues that the transnationalization of American literary and cultural studies, a movement sponsored institutionally by the American Studies Association among other scholarly organizations, amounts to another version of exceptionalist Americanist critique. In reading and assessing contributions to transnational studies from the field's leading practitioners, including Donald Pease, Robyn Wiegman, Janice Radway, Wai Chee Dimock, Paul Giles, and others, this essay argues that many of our critical narratives of American transnationalism end up reaffirming or recycling aspects of the exceptionalist narratives of American identity they would replace. "America" functions as the signifier of repressed critical identity whether criticizing the territorial integrity, the mono-linguistic deployment, or the insular-exclusive vision of American Studies. The essay suggests that Americanist practice can claim the histories, literatures, and political economies of the United States as an object of study without invariably reproducing anti-progressive political narratives about that identity.

Dancing in the Diaspora: Cultural Long-Distance Nationalism and the Staging of Chineseness by San Francisco's Chinese Folk Dance Association


This essay analyzes the history of a San Francisco Bay Area cultural institution over a period of more than four decades, and, applying to it the concept of "cultural long-distance nationalism," it attempts to tease apart the complexity of cultural practice in diaspora. The organization in question is the Chinese Folk Dance Association (CFDA), founded in 1959, a pro-People's Republic of China (PRC) troupe of amateur dancers and musicians playing Chinese instruments. As someone who was peripherally involved with the group in the mid-1970s and early 1980s and was a friend or acquaintance of a few members of the group, I became curious about the changes in its activities, its performance programs, its roles in the Bay Area community, and its self-perceived relationship to the homeland over time. I have examined the CFDA's performance programs, photographs, and press coverage since the 1970s (earlier archival material was not available to me), as well as interviewed three of its key figures and spoken on several occasions with one of the three, the long-time executive director of the group and a friend from graduate school. What I have found is that the changes undergone by the group reveal the multiplicity of factors that go into the staging of Chineseness in diaspora and the challenges inherent in such a process. The challenges are especially acute given how rapidly the nation-state to which a specific cultural presentation is tied -- the People's Republic of China (PRC) -- has itself been undergoing rapid and radical transformations.

Other Issues

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