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American Studies as a Contemporary Disciplinary Practice


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Grgas, Stipe. (2014). American Studies as a Contemporary Disciplinary Practice. Sic : časopis za književnost, kulturu i književno prevođenje, 4(2).

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The departure point of this article is that however one conceives the practice of American Studies one has to recognize that it is a disciplinary practice. In accordance with this contention the author proceeds to discuss the notion of the discipline as such before he goes on to ask and answer the question: “How do American Studies constitute themselves?” The author argues that American Studies, like other disciplines, constituted itself by objectifying an exceptional polity. The crux of his argument is that this self-constitution was founded on an act of erasure, whereby the evidence of capitalism was elided from the research agenda of the discipline. Contending that this erasure is paradoxical considering that American Studies has as its object the exemplary capitalist nation, the author proceeds to delineate the reasons for this erasure. He goes on to contend that American Studies was complicit with the capitalist system of production and that one can speak of it as being a part of an ideological apparatus. However, he proceeds by showing that the discipline of American Studies has always had to address the evidence of its object, namely the historical transformations in the United States, which have forced the discipline, at different points of the historical continuum, to revise its protocols and research agenda. In the last part of the article the author maintains that the unfolding economic crisis sets the ground for one such transformation and that the “command of money,” which has been revealed by the crisis, beckons us to undertake a new interdisciplinary networking, this time with economics. In the conclusion of the paper the author argues that the challenges of the present moment force the discipline to attend to postdisciplinary developments which have been proposed as ways with which to address the intractability of the present mutation of capitalism. At the very end of the article the author articulates and identifies the political position which is implied in his reading of American Studies as a disciplinary practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: American Studies; disciplinarity; paradigms; exceptionalism; capital
Subjects: English language and literature > American Studies
English language and literature
Date Deposited: 07 May 2019 11:46
Last Modified: 07 May 2019 11:46

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