The Task Force for American Studies in Higher Education in the U.S. and Globally

The Task Force, constituted in 2014 based on needs articulated by a wide range of members, program leaders, and committees, is charged with keeping the American Studies Association informed about trends in culture and policy as they impact American studies and its place in higher education, both within the United States and around the world. In particular, the Task Force focuses on identifying challenges facing American studies within the shifting landscape of higher education—and developing resources and strategies for responding to the same.

The primary objective of the Task Force is to make a case for the centrality of American studies within and across contemporary discourses of higher education, civil society, and democracy so as to ensure a vibrant future for the field. 

In 2014-2015 the Task Force produced a White Paper series for practitioners and leaders in American studies to help create, position, and sustain American studies programs at their institutions. This 2014 Task Force was co-chaired by Rebecca Hill and Mark Rice and comprised of Lynne Adrian, Ben Chappell, Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Ben Feldman, Alyosha Goldstein, Matthew Frye Jacobson, Karen J. Leong, Curtis Marez, and Chandan Reddy.

The Task Force is currently working at a series of high-level tasks to establish baseline data and documents in support of potential future activities of the ASA. These efforts include: a primer for articulating the value of American studies, a robust database and map of American studies programs, an update on American studies program support in public higher education systems, a report on the possibility of foundation funding from the Lumina Foundation, a strategy plan for tracking post-Ph.D. careers and supporting alternative pathways for graduates, and a report focused on better understanding the needs and pressures of American Studies outside the United States. This 2015-2016 Task Force is chaired by Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello and comprised of Bruce Burgett, Rebecca Hill, Matthew Frye Jacobson, Aaron Lecklider, Karen J. Leong, Chris Newfield, Chandan Reddy, Andrew Schocket, and Priscilla Wald.