ABOUT THIS BOOK
A clarion call for a more theoretically and politically informed approach to American Studies.
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' 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 EliÃ¡n GonzÃ¡lez custody case.
John Carlos Rowe is professor of English at the University of California, Irvine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I. Theoretical Approaches
1. A Future for American Studies: The Comparative U.S.
Cultures Model 3
2. Postmodernity and the New American Studies 17
3. Postnationalism, Globalism, and
the New American Studies 51
4. The Resistance to Cultural Studies in
the United States 65
Part II. Textual Examples
5. Hawthorne's Ghost in Henry James's Italy: Sculptural
Form, Romantic Narrative, and the Function of Sexuality
in the Nineteenth Century 83
6. Modern Art and the Invention of Postmodern Capital 113
7. Another Modernism: Poetic Justice in Muriel Rukeyser's
The Book of the Dead 135
8. Metavideo: Fictionality and Mass Media in
Our Postmodern Economy 151
9. "Bringing It All Back Home": U.S. Recyclings of
the Vietnam War 173
10. Elian Gonzalez, Cuban American Detente, and the Rhetoric
of Family Values 195