What is American Studies?

American Studies is a field defined not only by the critical questions it asks but by the interdisciplinary methods it uses to answer those questions. In considering the United States as a cultural, ideological, geographical and historical formation, students of American Studies examine how cultural configurations of and within the nation-state operate as social forces, contested archives of change, loci of power and resistance, and sites historical meaning and memory. How are ideologies and arrangements in the U.S. amplified, altered, challenged or contested? American Studies seeks to address these questions by critically examining how ideas and assumptions about the U.S. have been constituted through a range of competing, corroborating and resistant discourses.


Meet the New Faculty in American Studies

Jordan T. Camp is Term Assistant Professor of American Studies at Barnard College. He researches and teaches about racial capitalism, expressive culture, gentrification, political economy, policing and prisons, militarization, social reproduction, social theory, and the history of social movements in the U.S. He is the author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016), co-editor (with Christina Jordan Camp Heatherton) of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), and co-editor (with Laura Pulido) of the late Clyde Woods’ Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans (University of Georgia Press, 2017). His work also appears in venues such as American Quarterly, Jacobin, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, Race & Class, In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, edited by Clyde Woods (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime, edited by Paula Chakravartty and Denise da Silva (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso, 2017). He has held fellowships from the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Watson Institute at Brown University, the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, and the Institute of American Cultures and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. He is currently working on a new book tentatively titled, The Long Vendetta: Counterinsurgency and Cultures of Opposition.


Christina Heatherton is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Barnard. She is a scholar and historian of anti-racist social movements. Her classes challenge students to think independently, work collaboratively, and remain accountable to the communities in which they live and work. She is Christina Heathertoncompleting her first book, The Color Line and the Class Struggle: The Mexican Revolution, Internationalism, and the American Century (University of California Press, forthcoming). With Jordan T. Camp she recently edited Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso Books, 2016). Her work appears in places such as American Quarterly, Interface, The Rising Tides of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements Across the Pacific, edited by Moon-Ho Jung (University of Washington Press, 2014) and will appear in venues such as Feminists Rethink the Neoliberal State: Inequality, Exclusion and Change, edited by Leela Fernandes (New York University Press, forthcoming) and Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso Books, forthcoming). She has been featured on national news programs such as Democracy Now!, Against the Grain, and The Real News Network. Her writing also appears in popular venues such as Funambulist Magazine, The Washington Spectator, and 032 Magazine. With Jordan T. Camp she previously co-edited Freedom Now! Struggles for the Human Right to Housing in LA and Beyond (Freedom Now Books, 2012). She is the editor of Downtown Blues: A Skid Row Reader (Freedom Now Books, 2011).


Manu Vimalassery is an Assistant Professor of American Studies, and affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, where heManu Vimalassery has taught since 2014. His work centers a critique of political economy and a critique of imperialism, with a particular focus on race and indignity. He teaches courses on the Black radical tradition, U.S. imperialism and radical internationalism, Indigenous studies, and liberation. He is the author of Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Peoples, Racial Aliens, and the Transcontinental Railroad (forthcoming, University of California Press). With Juliana Hu Pegues and Alyosha Goldstein he co-edited a special issue of Theory & Event, “On Colonial Unknowing,” and with Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, and Sujani Reddy, he co-edited The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). He has held fellowships at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, and Williams College, and has taught at Williams College and Texas Tech University.