Interesting times: A meditation on American Studies in Britain, 2007

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This article examines some of the issues facing Area Studies in general, and American Studies in particular, in today's academy: the viability, or not, of the nation/state as interpretative paradigm; the extent to which disciplinary structures in today's universities have actually evolved (or not) to reflect geographical areas as a legitimate object of scholarly enquiry; and finally the desirability (or not) of focussing on the interactions of diverse linguistic groups within an area. After a brief overview of history of the concept of academic disciplinarity and the ways in which it is linked to geographical space, it then analyses Janice Radway's groundbreaking Presidential Address to the American Studies Association in 1998, and Shelley Fisher Fishkin's in 2004. Finally, it draws some conclusions about possible new directions for American Studies in Britain and for the British American Studies community.

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