Edited Collection: Localizing Transnational American Studies

deadline for submissions: 
May 8, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Amy A. Zenger
contact email: 

Call for proposals for an edited collection: Localizing Transnational American Studies

Deadline for proposal submissions: May 8, 2019

We are seeking contributions for a proposed collection that aims to intervene in conversations around how American Studies is defined and practiced outside the borders of the American nation. In American Studies, the transnational as a conceptual framework for research and practice accelerated in the post 9/11 era and has now become the norm. The turn to the transnational reinforced and amplified significant earlier moves in American Studies, which had shifted the field strongly away from tendencies to celebrate and champion American nationalism and exceptionalism. Interrogations of traditional national narratives challenged their foundations in racism, imperialism, and sexism, and were consonant with a marked investment in social justice in the practice of American Studies scholarship.

Our project seeks to fill a gap in the field, since thus far, the theorization of transnational positionalities has been primarily formulated by voices emanating from the center of the discipline. Often, the voices of those that do not inhabit the center have followed, since, for various reasons, the scholarship produced in non-American contexts so often goes through the legitimizing conduits of the center. Against such hierarchy, this proposed collection seeks to present different frameworks to describe and analyze what it means to do transnational American Studies in a non US-based context. 

Project description:

The project has originated in the ongoing efforts to study “America” through a transnational lens that have been at the heart of the theory and practice of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) since it was established at the American University of Beirut in 2003. Opportunities presented by the center’s geographical location informed questions such as: “What does it mean to do American Studies in this geo-political setting?”; “What is the best form such a center could have in order to mediate between international frameworks pertaining to American Studies and local exigencies/concerns?” and “What does ‘American Studies’ mean for this part of the world?” 

This project seeks to examine the multiple aspects pertaining to the theory, research, program administration, or teaching and learning in Transnational American Studies outside of the United States.  Contributions may engage questions of gender, racialization, positionality, borders, and cultural representation, and their role in shaping theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the formulation of transnationalism. The essays we hope to include in this edited collection will reflect scholars’ preoccupation with questions of voice, legitimacy, power and agency, as they relate to Transnational American Studies.

 Contributions might address questions about transnationalism, location, and practice including but not limited to


  • Does transnationality as a conceptual framework carry the same significance for American Studies scholars and scholarship located outside of the United States?


  • What potentials does transnationality open up? 


  • What possible blind spots does it create?”


  • How do these questions shape, and are also shaped by, the experience of teaching, administration, and research in American Studies?


Please submit a proposal (500 words) along with a brief bio to Amy Zenger az07@aub.edu.lb and Sirene Harb sh03@aub.edu.lb (Subject: Transnational American Studies) by May 8, 2019. Full essay drafts should be 6000-7000 words (to be sent by August 23, 2019). Interested contributors are encouraged to email us with questions regarding their proposals.