In late spring of 2020, when the Board of Managing Editors began contemplating the theme for the 2022 special issue, the world was desperately trying to cope with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the murder of George Floyd led to the broad mobilization of the BlackLivesMatter movement around the world, not only condemning anti-Black police brutality but calling for an honest look into structural racism past and present. In the midst of it all, we received the devastating news of Amy Kaplan's passing. We felt that the best way for American Quarterly to pay tribute to Kaplan's immense contribution to the field was to do a special issue revisiting the core questions of empire addressed by the body of her work. Kaplan's framing—which has urged us to fundamentally rethink the relationship between the domestic and the foreign and the mutual constitution of race and gender in the making of nation, citizenship, and empire—enables us to tackle both historical and contemporary conditions of the world and America's place in it and address the topics we had earlier considered for the special issue. We are honored to have Christopher Lee and Melani McAlister, whose areas of expertise complement each other while both being closely connected to Kaplan's oeuvre, take on this important work. The guest editors undertook the enormous labor, carefully reviewing a record number of submissions and working with the authors to compile a well-rounded collection of cutting-edge scholarship that reflects the legacies of Kaplan's work and the state of the field. Their introduction, paired with Kaplan's introductory essay to Cultures of United States Imperialism, will be an invaluable overview of the history, historiography, theory, and methods on American empire for scholars and students of American studies for generations to come.
Weaponized Study in a Moment of (Counter)Insurgency
by Dylan Rodriguez
“Weaponized Study in a Moment of (Counter)Insurgency” is the text of my 2020 ASA Presidential Address, belatedly presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting. This contribution is a modest attempt to identify, name, and praise the gathering force of the anti-American within and beyond the extended intellectual communities convened by American Studies. Along the way, the address overtly references and implicitly reflects the collective creativity of organizations and collectives that exemplify (queer, feminist, global) abolitionist, radical, anticolonial, Black liberationist, and emergent revolutionary forms of collective praxis. Resonating the spirit in which i offer “Weaponized Study,” i urge visitors to this edition of “Beyond the Page” to study, interact with, teach, materially support, and perhaps actively join in the work/art/worldmaking of these groups, among many others: