Announcing a new book series: Studies in United States Culture

We have exciting news to share as editors Mark Simpson-Vos and Brandon Proia depart for this week’s annual meeting of the American Studies Association (follow #2014ASA on Twitter). UNC Press is proud to announce the creation of a new book series, Studies in United States Culture.

This series will be edited by Grace Elizabeth Hale, Commonwealth Chair of American Studies, Professor of History, and Director of the American Studies Program at the University of Virginia. Hale is author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (Pantheon 1998) and A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle-Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (Oxford 2011). Her next book, tentatively entitled “Cool Town: Athens, Georgia, and the Promise of Alternative Culture in Reagan’s America,” will be published by UNC Press.

Studies in United States Culture will publish provocative books that explore United States culture in its many forms and spheres of influence. Under the series umbrella, UNC Press seeks interdisciplinary work characterized by big ideas, brisk prose, bold storytelling, and methodological sophistication.

This new publishing initiative builds on the intellectual origins and historical development of American Studies as a field. In the last quarter century, scholars engaged in interdisciplinary research on United States culture have developed a rich and expansive intellectual practice now flourishing everywhere from academic presses to social media. The best work on literature, music and sound, visual culture, history, documentary arts, and other forms of cultural production regularly cuts across disciplinary bounds to assess the significance and influence of “American culture,” both within the United States and around the globe. Our goal is to publish a series of books that come together as an intellectual meeting ground where scholars from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives can build common lines of inquiry around matters such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, power, and empire in an American context.

The series seeks authors who work across methodologies, specializations, and disciplines and combine sophisticated textual and archival analysis with equally sophisticated historical analysis. We are especially interested in books that use theory to dig deeply into cultural materials, examining their circulation, reception, interpretation, and reuse.

We invite submissions from junior and senior scholars whose arguments and archives surprise and provoke their audiences. We will publish books that engage readers, speak to the issues of the present, and contest the contemporary narrowing of intellectual endeavor. The series particularly encourages submissions that experiment with new forms for scholarly and general interest work, including short, strong books that tackle big questions.

In launching the series, Grace Hale and Mark Simpson-Vos, UNC Press’s editorial director, have brought together an interdisciplinary advisory board that will continue to play an active role in shaping the direction of the series as well as individual book projects. The board includes: Sara Blair, professor of English, University of Michigan; Janet Davis, associate professor of American studies, University of Texas at Austin; Matthew Pratt Guterl, professor of Africana studies and American studies, Brown University; Franny Nudelman, associate professor of English, Carleton University; Leigh Raiford, associate professor of African American studies and African diaspora studies, University of California, Berkeley; and Bryant Simon, professor of history, Temple University.

Watch the UNC Press web site for more information about forthcoming books in the series, and if you’d like to learn more, please visit UNC Press’s exhibit booth (#403) at the Westin Bonaventure during the ASA Annual Meeting!