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The New American Studies

2002
Author:

John Carlos Rowe

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A clarion call for a more theoretically and politically informed approach to American Studies

In The New American Studies, Rowe demands a reinvention of the discipline that includes a commitment to making it more theoretically informed, and he draws on the work of cultural critics, postmodernist theorists, and scholars in ethnic, gender, gay, and media studies.

One of the most compelling voices has been that of John Carlos Rowe. The book will be immensely worthwhile for scholars in American Studies, as well as those who might benefit from a synthetic model of poststructuralist methods.

Virginia Quarterly Review

John Carlos Rowe, a leading American Studies scholar, has examined his field of study and declared it not ready for the twenty-first century. In The New American Studies, Rowe demands a reinvention of the discipline that includes a commitment to making it more theoretically informed, and he draws on the work of cultural critics, postmodernist theorists, and scholars in ethnic, gender, gay, and media studies. Rowe asserts that with American Studies’s strong history of social criticism and practical pedagogy it is an easy leap to the type of progressive commitments characteristic of these areas of scholarship.

The New American Studies
is a compelling combination of theory and application, synthesis and polemic. Rowe traces the evolution of American Studies over the last quarter century and looks to the future, placing the field in a postnationalist context that encompasses all of the Americas and the disparate cultural zones within. He then demonstrates the kind of literary and cultural interpretation he calls for, examining subjects ranging from Hawthorne’s and James’s responses to nineteenth-century sexual mores, to the ways television legitimated itself in its first few decades, to the Elián González custody case.


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John Carlos Rowe is professor of English at the University of California, Irvine.

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One of the most compelling voices has been that of John Carlos Rowe. The book will be immensely worthwhile for scholars in American Studies, as well as those who might benefit from a synthetic model of poststructuralist methods.

Virginia Quarterly Review

Rowe’s book gathers together and synthesizes new work in the field in a helpful way, taking positions that challenge old assumptions and suggesting a myriad of ways in which American Studies can continue to remake itself into a vital force within the broader framework of literary and cultural studies. For students and scholars unfamiliar with recent developments in American Studies, Rowe’s book should prove valuable and informative.

Modern Philology