Critique, Outreach, Practice – American Studies in 2016

The public spheres both in the UK and the US have been left reeling after two votes in 2016, suggesting the rise of what has been called ‘post-truth’ politics, even more troubling given its often equally post-ethical nature. We would like to invite you to debate how the humanities in general, and American Studies in particular, can help critique the present moment – but there is an even more pressing issue:

How can we re-define democratic agency and re-shape the terms of a public discourse in severe crisis? Speaking from our position as researchers, valuing complexity, methodological rigour and debate, how can we meaningfully respond to, and offer an opposition to, the wave of populism that has swept the US?

Understanding this as a laboratory for an intellectual practice based on communication, outreach, and engagement, we are interested in hearing your ideas:

Practices – have you been involved in, or have any ideas for, practices and activities that engage with these challenges?

Concepts – as researchers in American Studies, which concepts do you find worth discussing in the present moment? How can we re-invigorate these concepts with a stronger public significance?

Research – are you currently conducting research in/about the US that ties in with these issues, and would like to share your experience?

Please email all ideas and submissions to the editors at


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