The program committee co-chairs, Robert Lee, T.V. Reed, and Sonia Saldívar-Hull, appreciate the hard work done by the committee members who collaborated to make the conference a success: Rick Bonus, Kandace Chuh, Janet Davis, Jonathan Holloway, Matthew Frye Jacobson, Joanne Melish, Laura Pulido, John-Michael Rivera, and Robert Warrior. ASA president Stephen Sumida provided the vision that led us to our theme and showed us that it is possible to include new visions of the program and still ensure the full participation of the multiple approaches to American Studies that our organization provides. We are grateful to John Stephens and the ASA office staff, especially Vanessa Mason, convention coordinator, who supported us through the whole process of program preparation and made the conference itself flow smoothly. The Site Committee for the 2002 meeting, José Aranda, Nicolas Kanellos, and Lorenzo Thomas, also merit special recognition for going beyond the traditional duties of site committees as they organized the groundbreaking collaboration of the ASA meeting with the Recovery of the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project conference. The 2002 program committee is proud of how the conference theme, The Local and The Global, was reflected in this unique experiment.
The conference explored a variety of local, global and local perspectives, and drew richly on scholarship and scholars exploring national, transnational and postnational issues. ASA President Steven Sumida’s address richly presented the variety of scholarship on the US from around the world, and challenged members to explore more fully this body of work that pushes the borders of American studies.
The 2002 Program committee took to heart the recommendation of its predecessor to “continue to promote a diversity of voices at the conferences, including both older and younger members of the profession, geographical and international variety, as well as the dazzling range of scholarly fields that now align themselves with American Studies.” While the setting led to a number of jokes on a theme of being “malled,” sitting the conference in the heart of consumerdom contained reminders of our inevitable imbrication in capitalism and reminded participants vividly of current class divides. The collaboration between the American Studies Association and the Seventh Conference of Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage provided opportunities for us to bridge the local and the global with multiple border crossings at the conference and the potential for new networks. The Recovery Conference theme, “Redefining ‘Nuestra Ameríca’: A Transnational Perspective on the Local and the Global” reflected the multiple intersections with our own project. As José Aranda so eloquently put it: “Our goal is to present the evolving significance of the ‘local and the global’ for Latinos/as as represented, debated, and contested in writings from the 1500s to 1960. We in the Recovery Project look forward to not only sharing with you the findings of an enterprise now into its second decade, but also inviting you to think out loud about how our findings might affect your field of interests and vice versa.”
We count the 2002 Conference a great success. The program included a record number of sessions. Attendance was excellent for a non-coastal year with more than 1400 participants and thanks to the hard work of the support staff the program ran exceedingly smoothly. With the exception of the usual small number of no-shows and the few complaints from those whose sessions or papers could not be accommodated, the general consensus of the participants was positive. This annual meeting showed how the American Studies Association continues to grow in response to a changing and dynamic field.