Lecture: “Americanists in Unexpected Places”
- Date: –17:00
- Location: Engelska parken Room 16-1044
- Lecturer: George Blaustein
- Organiser: Department of English
- Contact person: Michael Boyden
What was American Studies?—and where?
This lecture offers a centrifugal history of a centrifugal field: American Studies’ several origins and sundry fates. It presents episodes from a far-flung Americanist century, with stops in the United States, Europe, and Japan, from the 1910s through the cold war. In different national contexts, American Studies could be area studies, enemy studies, idol studies, collective narcissism, or collective projection. Fascism, war, military occupation, and postwar reconstruction have shaped the Americanist endeavor in surprising ways. It is a commonplace that “American exceptionalism” was the field’s foundation, but that phrase does not necessarily mean what we think it means, and a broader historical canvas reveals other histories of American uniqueness. Considering the hidden histories of the field may in turn illuminate how to be Americanists after the American Century.
George Blaustein is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of Nightmare Envy & Other Stories: American Culture and European Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2018). He received his doctorate in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University, and his essays and reviews have appeared in N+1, Amerikastudien/American Studies, American Quarterly, Vrij Nederland, and De Groene Amsterdammer. He is also the president of the Netherlands American Studies Association (NASA).