Alexander Dallas Bache (1806–1867) was one of the leaders of American science in the nineteenth century. Driven by a vision of science as a key component of an integrated U.S. nation-state, he guided the nascent American Association for the Advancement of Science and also led what was at that point the nation’s largest scientific enterprise, the U.S. Coast Survey. In this analytical biography, Axel Jansen explains and explores Bache’s efforts to build and shape public institutions as aids to his goal of creating a national foundation for a shared culture—efforts that culminated in his work during the Civil War as one of the founders of the National Academy of Sciences, which he saw as a key symbol of the continued viability of a unified American nation.
American studies has changed drastically over the past few decades, as a new wave of scholars—armed with groundbreaking ideas and more extensive methods of research—flocked to the relatively young field. This focus on scholarship, though necessary to the advancement of the discipline, has left pedagogy largely ignored. In American Studies in Dialogue, Matthias Oppermann consciously resists the traditional academic split between scholarship and classroom practice. His study calls for a radical reconstruction of American studies grounded in an understanding of cultural analysis and critique as genuinely dialogic processes of research and pedagogy. Drawing on case studies ranging from courses in early American civilization to recent multimedia projects, American Studies in Dialogue will be required reading for American studies scholars and teachers.