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American Studies Now: Critical Histories of the Present

Fri, November 10, 4:00 to 5:45pm, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Acapulco, Ballroom Level West Tower

Session Submission Type: Non-Paper Session: Dialogue Format

Abstract

From Fredric Jameson to Manuel Castells, critics of “the way we live now” have argued that the incessant flow of images and ideas via digital networks often disconnects us from larger systems of meaning, making it more difficult to connect what seems like a perpetual present to questions of history and power. University teachers encounter this problem in classrooms and during office hours, as students demonstrate diminishing capacities to think critically about the present, or to grasp the historical contexts for current realities. The new University of California Press series American Studies Now aims to meet the need for critical histories of the present with short ebooks (available to print on demand) that connect significant political debates, personalities, and popular cultural phenomena to cutting edge concepts and methods in American Studies. These 80-100 page ebooks will fill a demand, both in the classroom and in the larger public sphere, for engaging, clearly written and easily accessed analyses of current issues in their deeper and wider political and cultural context. On this roundtable, American Studies Now editors and authors will discuss their books in this new series, and the changes they hope to make in the way American Studies scholars think about their writing, teaching and impact on public debate.

Participants include press editor Niels Hooper, series editors Lisa Duggan and Curtis Marez, and series authors Scott Kurashige, The Fifty-Year Rebellion: How the U.S. Political Crisis Began in Detroit; Sunaina Maira, Boycott!
The Movement for the Academic Boycott of Israel; Barbara Ransby, Making All Black Lives Matter; Shelley Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change; and Macarena Gomez-Barris, The Rainbow Tide.

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