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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Call for Papers

The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) invites submissions
for individual articles and special fora

The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) is an open-access, peer-reviewed forum for
Americanists in the global academic community.

Moving beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries that might confine the field of American
Studies, JTAS is an established critical conduit that publishes innovative transnational work in order to
facilitate the broadest possible cultural conversation about Transnational American Studies. The journal
is available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

Exploring the “transnational turn” called for by Shelley Fisher Fishkin that has pushed the
boundaries of post-exceptional American Studies, JTAS welcomes original articles as well as collected
essays on a theme—a “Special Forum”—that critically engage new research questions and the growing
conceptual terrain of the field we have helped to establish: Transnational American Studies.

Interdisciplinary research of interest to the journal may include: archipelagic relations; environment;
Asian/American, migration and Latinx borderland studies; remapping Indigenous Studies; the Black
Atlantic; historiographies of revolutionary solidarity work across continents; performative practices of
transculturation and intercultures; literary, artistic, and theoretical analyses.

Submissions of individual essays and proposals to guest edit a Special Forum are accepted on a
rolling basis. All manuscripts submitted for publication in the “Articles” section or the “Special Forum”
section undergo a double-blind peer review by a minimum of two external reviewers and by the members
of the JTAS editorial board.

JTAS is non-fee, non-commercial, free to authors and to readers. We have no submission charges or
article processing charges (APC), and all published articles are freely available to readers.
JTAS is published by eScholarship: Open Access Publications from the University of California.
eScholarship offers statistical services for individual articles and all issues on a monthly basis as well
as access to all past issues in the archives. The Library of Congress has selected JTAS for permanent
inclusion in its archive of electronic publications.

Authors retain copyright for all content published in the Journal of Transnational American Studies.
However, authors grant to the journal the right to publish the article under a Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license and to make available such content, in any format, in

If you would like to submit an individual article or offer a proposal for a "Special Forum," see
submission guidelines here. Download this invitation to submit papers here. Deadline: open call.

Apply for the Shelley Fisher Fishkin Prize

Next round will be in Spring 2024. Watch for details here, at the American Studies Association website.

[call now closed] Call for Papers: Special Forum on Diagnosing Migrant Experience: Medical Humanities and Transnational American Studies

This special forum of the Journal of Transnational American Studies explores how Transnational American Studies and Medical Humanities can be mutually complementary. At their core, both disciplines work on, with, and beyond phenomena of multiple crossings of geographic, cultural, linguistic, epistemological, material, and physical borders.In doing so Transnational American Studies and Medical Humanities perpetually transgress their disciplinary borders. Hence, this special issue focuses on the crossroads of the two disciplines where each of these can fruitfully enhance the other.

In Medical Humanities approaches such as Narrative Medicine, the focus has been on the individual illness experience; migration-related questions such as racialization or trauma have only recently been coming to the fore. Here, migration is inextricably linked to questions of social justice. Seen from this perspective, Medical Humanities have been enriched through the perspective on migration studies. Similarly, issues of migration have also loomed large in Transnational American Studies. Work in this field has stressed the ways in which, through migrants’ perspectives, the US nation-state was seen from the outside and the inside simultaneously. At the same time, migrant experience has often been characterized by processes of racialized exclusion, economic poverty, and personal and collective trauma. These latter concerns have also centrally been investigated by the field of Medical Humanities. The current Covid-19 pandemic has once again shown that, in epidemiological terms, national boundaries cannot be policed. More than ever, there is a need for concepts and methodologies which enable us to think the medical and the transnational at one and the same time and ask for the role of literature and art within this process.

This special forum proposes that Transnational American Studies and Medical Humanities may fruitfully converge in reconfiguring different concepts of life. Through the lens of Transnational American Studies, this forum looks at how lives have been excluded by immigration bans and national border policing. In this context, Transnational American Studies emerges as a framework to make these lives visible by mapping them not only in a literal, but also in a figurative sense. Moreover, these border crossings often come at a price for those who cross the line in both a metaphorical and an actual sense: Migration and cultural invisibility can be accompanied by trauma and displacement. In this context, exhibitions and artworks on undocumented migration have emphasized the ways in which art and performance can go beyond narrative depictions of the traumas that can accompany forced migration and undocumented lives. At the intersection between migration and trauma, the borders that are being crossed are both land borders and waterways.

The experience of migration can also, quite literally, be combined with a lack of access to health care especially for undocumented migrants and unaccompanied minors. Seen from this perspective, migrant lives are in a form of double jeopardy as dramatically demonstrated, e.g., by the current distribution crisis of Covid-19 vaccines. In this context, literary narratives––novels, poems, short stories, biographies, and autobiographies––emerge as an alternative form of representation: First, they may resist both national policies of exclusion by literally writing migrant lives into the script of the nation. Second, they may defy a mere focus on medical diagnosis, especially where this diagnosis is divorced from cultural context. Defying these categories, these narratives may revolve around “unruly” subjects who refuse to be contained.

Linking illness, mental health, and trauma, such representations can also serve as a critique of health care systems. Nation-states can draw a line between those who are eligible for health care and those who are seen as “undeserving” of such care. Recent investigation as well as historical research has revealed that medical care and adequate nutrition can be withheld by state institutions. As forms of medical negligence or health injustice, such practices have been documented regarding residential schools for Native American children as well as vis-à-vis inmates of state prisons. In all these different contexts, Medical Humanities are closely connected to considerations of social justice and health equity. Instances of an absence of medical care, in turn, can be tied to the crossing of national or internal borders with which Transnational American Studies has also been concerned.

For this special forum, we seek contributions that explore the intricate connections between medical and migrant experiences and their cultural impact in past and present, such as

- Migration and mental health/trauma

- Migration and somatic manifestations

- Migration and challenges for health care systems

- Migration of medical knowledge

- Migration of medical professionals

- Migration and narrative medicine

- Migration and epi-/pandemics

- Migration and disability

- Migration and age

- Migration and global health/one health

- Migration and medical ethics

Call now closed. Thanks to all who sent proposals. Please submit a 250-word abstract by November 1, 2021. The editors will review abstracts and invite full-length essays of 5,000–8,000 words. Please email abstracts and questions to Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee ( and Dr. Davina Höll (

Call for Papers: Teaching and Theorizing Transnational American Studies Across the Globe (abstracts due Oct. 31) [call now closed]

JTAS Special Forum coedited by Yuan Shu and Selina Lai-Henderson

What would American Studies look like if the transnational rather than the national were at its center? Since Shelley Fisher Fishkin first challenged us with this question in 2004, scholars in the US and around the globe have redefined the field imaginary, object of study, and methodology of TAS. As transatlantic studies have reshaped the spatially configured Atlantic World, Transpacific Studies have likewise transformed the temporally constructed Pacific from "the Asia Pacific Era" to "America's Pacific Century." While theorizing US empire-building, military intervention, and economic expansion as an extension of the conquest of the Americas, transpacific studies have also promoted decolonization and advocated Indigenous epistemologies in the South Pacific and the Asia Pacific.

Now it is time we shift our attention to how such critical articulations and innovations have played out in our pedagogy and teaching practices around the globe. How do we theorize our teaching i its different forms, modes, and moments mediated by technology? How do we, scholars and instructors in both "the West" and "the Rest," teach and theorize transnational American studies beyond the US? If American Studies was a Cold War product of the 1950s, vis-a-vis Comparative Literature and Area Studies, how have US government-funded programs, centers, and journals worldwide impacted and continued to impact our teaching? How do we relate critical issues in American Studies such as race, gender, class, citizenship, migration and border-crossing to colleagues and students around the world? What does it mean when Asian Americans approach American history the "wrong way," from the Far East of the Asia Pacific to teh Far West of North America, from the West Coast to the East Coast of the US? How do we teach social movements in North America, such as Black Lives Matter, in the Global South? In what ways do transnational American studies continue to matter critically in the era of trump and a Cold War 2.0 between the US and China?

We welcome essays that explore the theoreticl dimensions of teaching transnational American studies, which involve resistance, negotiation, and appropriation for both US and non-US academics. We also look for essays that share personal and empirical experiences based on teaching and theorizing the specific aspects of American studies from thematic focuses such as post-9/11 literature, ethnic American literature, and environmental literature to genre specifics like the graphic novel, video games, Hollywood cinema, and visual and performing arts. Finally, we are interested in special topics ranging from teaching nineteenth-entury Anglo-American representation of the South Pacific to theorizing the Black Atlantic and the Black Pacific, from rereading Vietnam War literature to remapping the current war on terror with special attention to refugee and ecological crises.

Please submit a 250-word abstract by October 31, 2020. The editors will review abstracts and invite full-length essays of 3,500 to 6,000 words including notes and bibliography. Please email abstracts and questions to Dr. Yuan Shu at and Dr. Selina Lai-Henderson at

Call for Papers: Short Essays on the Global Pandemic
CFP now closed (publication Winter 2020) (download CFP)

We invite commentaries of 1,000 to 1,250 words on the pandemic's impact, whether implicit or explicit, on your work as a scholar of transnational American studies. Possible topics include:

-- How are changes in immigration, travel, education, and trade policies in response to the pandemic reshaping transnational perspectives on the US and on American political power?

-- How is US transnational 'leadership' in this global moment of truth arising from the pandemic impacting your research/fieldwork as a teach and scholar?

-- How do US representations of the crisis compare with those in your research territory (Europe, Africa, Austro-Asia, the Americas, and/or Asia) and what do these differences suggest about changes in your research/field/nation and US twenty first-century relations?

-- How are US planning and policies regarding the pandemic viewed in your research/field territory and shaping attitudes toward the US or toward future relationships and expectations?

-- How have US pandemic social and political narratives illuminated fault lines in American society and culture for the scholars in your research field?

-- How has the current pandemic crisis illuminated previously neglected areas of analysis and understanding in transnational American studies, e.g., the significance of the absence of women in US presidential politics?

Please email proposals of one paragraph to Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci ( Full commentaries due end of August for publication in JTAS Winter 2020. The Editors of JTAS hope you will contribute your thoughts and welcome a range of forms, from open-ended questions and comments to poems and short fiction.

Call for Papers: Molecular Intimacies of Empire (abstracts due 1 Aug. 2020) download [call now closed]

This special forum on The Molecular Intimacies of Empire seeks to deepen intellectual connections between New Materialist scholarship (including in environmental humanities, Science and Technology Studies, and material feminism) and transnational American studies by attending to US neo/imperialism's reliance on racialized and uneven molecular intimacies. The concept of the "intimacies of empire" (Ann Laura Stoler) has been tremendously generative in transnational American studies, orienting groundbreaking studies that interrogate such topics as "metroimperial intimacies," "stranger intimacy," "the intimacies of four continents," "the racialization of intimacy," "intimate migrations" and hemispheric "institutions of intimacy" (Victor Mendoza, Nayan Shah, Lisa Lowe, David Eng, Deborah Boehm, Rodrigo Lazo). The Molecular Intimacies of Empire shifts the scale of analysis to empire's mutually constitutive relation with chemical bonds through the simultaneously transnational and "trans-corporeal" (Stacey Alaimo) circulation of foods, flavors, scents, dyes, toxins, plants, pathogens, drugs, chemical processes, and other biological and synthetic materials.

We seek essays and creative works that engage and build on scholarship on the transnational scale of food production and capitalist metabolics (Sidney Mintz, Rachel Lee, Allison Carruth, Alyshia Galvez); the racialization of flavors, scents, and food/scent chemicals such as curry, sucrose, musk, lactose, and monosodium glutamate (Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Erica Fretwell, Sarah Tracy, Robert Ku); the transnational/colonial sourcing, testing, and circulation of pharmaceuticals (Alexa Dietrich, Michael Brown); the uneven geographies of risk that sustain industrial and postindustrial society (Alaimo, Rob Nixon, Michelle Murphy, Vanessa Agard-Jones, Macarena Gomez-Barris); the supposedly unintended biological and ecological effects of chemical and radioactive weapons (Kristen Simmons, Marjin Nieuwenhuis, Edwin Martini, Elizabeth DeLoughrey), and projects of resistance, coalition, and/or futurity grounded in these shifting and frequently toxic molecular intimacies (Jina Kim, Robin Wall Kimmerer). How might we rethink the conditions and/or possibilities of intimacy amidst these "chemical regimes of living" (Murphy)?

Submissions might consider the historical, material, and/or cultural processes that extend US empire and capital accumulation not only across geographic space, but throughout the biochemical constituents to human and nonhuman bodies, minds, and moods; the aesthetic challenges posed by efforts to trace increasing capitalist and military investments in chemosensory processes; and patterns of intersection or divergence between molecular and interpersonal "intimacies."

The editors, David Vázquez and Hsuan Hsu, invite 250-word abstracts due by August 1, 2020. The editors will review abstracts and invite full-length essays and creative works of between 5,000 to 8,000 words in length. Draft full-length essays and creative works will be due no later than February 28, 2021, and should not exceed 8,000 words including endnotes and bibliography.

Please email abstracts to by August 1, 2020. -- Call now closed. Thanks to all who responded.