Founded In    1959
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest



ISSN   0026-3079
Affiliated Organization   Mid-America American Studies Association
Editorial Board

Anderson, Crystal
Augst, Thomas
Baldwin, Davarian
Delaney, Kate
Domer, Dennis
Earle, Jonathan
Enstad, Nan
Early, Gerald
Fiorentino, Daniele
Fischer, Iris Smith
Friedensohn, Doris
Graebner, William
Habell-Pallan, Michelle
Hebel, Udo
Hulsether, Mark
Kent, J. Robert
Knobloch, Frieda
Kwolek-Folland, Angel
Lester, Cheryl
Linkon, Sherry
Mason, Carol
Nagel, Joane
Porter, Eric
Roediger, David
Sandeen, Eric
Seago, Alex
Van Arragon, Elizabeth
Wajda, Shirley Teresa
Whaley, Deborah
Yokoyama, Ryo

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Format and style of submissions: Manuscripts need to be in a Word file.  Manuscripts (including endnotes, tables, and references) should be double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides. All manuscripts should be between 20 and 30 pages, not including endnotes. All footnotes/endnotes should use Arabic numerals, not Roman numerals. All figures should be places at the end of the manuscript. All manuscripts not meeting these standards will be returned to the author for reformatting. Because American Studies uses a double-blind review process, contributors are asked not to put their names on manuscripts; only the title should appear on the manuscript. Contributors agree upon submission that manuscripts submitted to American Studies will not be submitted for publication elsewhere while under review by American Studies. Manuscripts should be prepared following the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, or MLA.
We strongly encourage authors to submit their work using the journal’s online submission system. We encourage authors to submit manuscripts (with a 300 word abstract) electronically. For questions regarding submissions or the online submission system, please contact Chris Robinson at
Photographs and other imagery often enhance the text and the journal considerably; the Editors encourage authors to provide illustrations with their submissions. We do, however, require the following: Electronic images are preferred. Our printer has specified they prefer halftone and color images be at minimum 300 pixels per inch (ppi), while line art should be scanned at 1200 ppi. If possible, images in .PNG or .TIFF are preferred. As nearly all images downloaded from the Internet are in .JPEG or .GIF format and will be 72 dpi, they are rarely acceptable to be printed. Sizing these images to fit the page can cause pixelation, rendering them unrecognizable or warped. If you have trouble finding an image of acceptable quality, please feel free to check online sources such as Flickr. Many images on Flickr are available to the public under a Creative Commons license. If sending physical photographs, please send us good quality, glossy prints or camera-ready line art, ready for press. We will not be able to use images/figures inserted in Word documents. If your submission is accepted, please send us original copies of all images included, along with captions, as well as notes indicating an estimated location for page layout. If we need to edit captions, we will of course check back with you during the proofing process. *Please note that authors are responsible for obtaining permission for any images they wish to use. If permission to reproduce the image is needed, we require the appropriate documentation granting that permission. Where necessary, the appropriate wording granting permission, which will be placed under the photograph or at the end of the article (“Reproduced by permission of . . . .,” etc.) should also be included. Please mail physical images to:
Chris Robinson, Assistant Editor
American Studies
The University of Kansas 1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 213
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7590

American Studies publishes reviews of books, films, or exhibits that deal broadly with American culture and that blur traditional disciplinary lines. We also hope to bring attention to discipline-specific texts with topics or themes that may interest scholars in a variety of fields.
Reviewers are professors, independent scholars, and professionals who hold a PhD or terminal degree in their field.  We assign some books to reviewers as they come in to our office, if we suspect the scholar would offer an insightful review of a particular book.  We also recruit reviewers by publishing a list of new books available for review on our blog, in our e-newsletter, and on social media sites.
Reviews should indicate the nature of the book’s themes and the quality of its scholarship. The review may mention other texts in order to situate the work being reviewed into the debates and conversations in which it takes part; however, we expect that the review focus on the particular book itself.  Reviews are generally 500 words in length, unless otherwise requested by the editors.
In addition to book reviews, we also publish book review essays that frame texts within the context of scholarly patterns and directions.  These are often assigned to specific reviewers by the journal’s editorial team, though individual scholars may propose review essays as well.  We publish review essays in most of our quarterly issues and in our summer reading issue.
At the top of the review, please cite the book as follows: TITLE: Subtitle. By Author Name. City: Press. Year. If you quote from the book, please include a page citation in parenthesis immediately following the quote. Try not to use footnotes. Instead, embed the information in the text. At the end of your review, state your name and institutional affiliation. If the institution is outside the United States, please include the country. If the institution has several campuses, include yours after the institution name.
Reviews should be submitted by e-mail to Justine Greve at


American Studies


American Studies is a quarterly interdisciplinary journal sponsored by the Mid-America American Studies Association, the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of American Studies, and KU Libraries. With an editorial staff from a number of areas of study, the journal offers provocative perspectives on a variety of issues. Frequent special sections and special issues create a space for a broad discussion on a single topic. Articles on pedagogy inform the American Studies classroom. The book review section aims at keeping readers conversant with contemporary scholarship. American Studies first appeared in 1959, and has 1,000 current subscribers. In 2005 it merged with American Studies International, and welcomes submissions with an international perspective. This electronic edition provides free access to the back issues of the journal. The most recent three years are available via print subscription only.
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"Homosexuals in Unexpected Places?", Vol. 48, No. 2

Homosexuals in Unexpected Places?  An Introduction

From Websites to Wal-Mart: Youth, Identity Work, and the Queering of Boundary Publics in Small Town, USA

Identity work and the productive fragility of boundary publics Drawing from a larger ethnographic project, this paper discusses rural young people's construction of "boundary publics" as a strategy for space making and locations for what I describe as queer identity work. Building off of the rich literature theorizing both the public sphere and responsive counterpublics, the notion of a boundary public is offered to better address the infrastructural constraints of rural communities and as a critical site to explore young people's experiences crafting queer sexual and gender identities. Contrary to the presumed invisibility of queer genders and sexualities in rural spaces, I argue that youth assert their presence in fabulously conspicuous ways. Youth pieced together resources in and beyond their communities, carving out what I call "boundary publics" -- from personal and organizational websites created by and for other rural queer young people to drag outings at the local Wal-Mart and a local church's SkatePark. This paper provides a rich account of what rural queer youth do with and in the spaces around them. Their social interactions challenge the expectation that rural queer publics are unsustainable or poor imitations when compared to an urban queer scene. Arguing that late modern identities call for publics, this paper analyzes how rural queer and questioning youth craft such spaces in ways and locations one might not likely expect. Rather than counter or rebuff the mainstream or rural public sphere, the boundary publics of rural young people necessarily move among both the centers and margins of their rural communities. These occupations are activities of what I describe as queer identity work. Youth crisscross the commercial zones of chain stores and the nonprofit corporate structures of non-governmental LGBT advocacy organizations. They also occupy and work the spaces of public parks and meeting halls of organized religions. Rural queer young people absorb, recycle, and recuperate these spaces to make them their own -- if only temporarily so. And, in increasingly complicated ways, these youth take up what I shall call new mediascapes such as personal and group websites and listservs. Each of these types of occupation or moments of queer identity work can be understood as liberating and impermanent. Indeed, it is the fragility of these competing qualities that make boundary publics such productive locations of rural queer youth identity work. The fragility of boundary publics also illustrates the elemental entanglements between these publics and the broader public sphere. The examples of queer rural youth boundary publics argue against theorizing that new media can produce independent publics insolated or removed from their offline contexts. In highlighting the constitutive matrices of boundary publics and public spheres, rural queer young people's experiences of public-ness brings into question divisions of public and private spaces more broadly.

The Boys of Beaver Meadow:  A Homosexual Community at 1920s Dartmouth College

In this article about an organized group of homosexual students at all-male 1920s Dartmouth College -- the boys of Beaver Meadow -- Nicholas L. Syrett points to the possibility of a gay rural identity and community at the very time when most queer historiography has focused on urban space as the precondition for gay community. In looking at this group of students he examines the classed and racial makeup of its members, arguing that while they may well have lived in a rural space, the means by which they constituted their gay identity were predicated on the same classed (and implicitly raced) status that allowed others in major cities to claim similar identities. Finally, Syrett explores the significance of the boys' membership in a college fraternity and their participation in Dartmouth's theatre program, dwelling in particular on what both of these activities -- read alongside their homosexuality -- can tell us about 1920s ideals of masculinity at an all male-college. Drawing on archival documents from Dartmouth College, "The Boys of Beaver Meadow" contributes to a growing body of work that seeks to problematize the urban/homosexual connection and does so in a specifically historical context, in this case 1920s New England.

Camp Life: The Queer History of Manhood in the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-37

Between 1933 and 1942 hundreds of thousands of young American men sought relief from the poverty and hopelessness of the Great Depression by joining FDR's Emergency Work Relief program, otherwise known as the Civilian Conservation Corps. Although the Corps attracted men from both town and country, the vast majority of work camps to which It sent enrollees were located near small towns or in remote rural areas far from US urban centers. This essay explores the homosocial world of these camps paying particularly close attention to the traditions of gender-bending drag performance and homoerotic innuendo that grew up within them. Following the invitation of Martin Bauml Duberman, who first suggested in 1981 that the CCC might prove to be a worthy subject of inquiry for historians of the gay past, the essay argues that in the organization's early years especially camp life was, in fact, a camp life -- one in which the very meaning of American manhood was constantly being challenged, contested and reworked in ways that bear a striking resemblance to the sometimes coded, sometimes openly flamboyant techniques of sociability typically associated with urban sexual subcultures during this period. As such, it makes a claim for the CCC's importance as a crucial point of historical connection between the proto-gay subcultures that flourished in American cities during the early twentieth century and the homosexual subculture that arose in another federal entity -- the US military -- during the Second War World.

Southern Backwardness:  Metronormativity and Regional Visual Culture

Since the early 1980s, visual artist Michael Meads has photographed numerous white working-class males who reside in his rural hometown of Eastaboga, Alabama, and he has often displayed these images under the installation title Eastaboga. In 2002, Meads gathered many of these photos together and reprinted them on his personal website, Alabama Souvenirs. These images have sparked commentary from major urban-oriented gay newspapers, websites, and magazines that normalized Meads' images by situating them into the ready-made sexual identity-categories of metropolitan middle-class gay males, and by placing them into an elitist canon of Western white "gay" male art. This essay looks at how Meads disrupts this standardizing project by focusing on how his anachronistic incarnations undermine the thrust of what one critic has termed urban "sexual assimilation" in the late twentieth-century United States. To do so, I first examine some of Meads' invocations of the gay male art canon in the opening windows of his website. Second, I read Alabama Souvenirs as an appropriative dialogue with earlier gay male art icons such as Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden's turn-of-the-century pictorials of southern Mediterranean boys. Third, I address how his appropriations distort a canon of (white) visual art that affirms the presumed artistic "heritage" of many metro-identified gay male cultures in the 1980s, the 1990s, and in the early twenty-first century.

Homosexuals in Unexpected Places? A Comment

Other Issues

Fall/Winter 2008, Vol. 49, No. 3/4
Spring/Summer 2009, Vol. 50, No. 1/2
Aaron Douglas and the Harlem Renaissance, Vol. 49, No. 1/2
Winter 2007, Vol. 48, No. 4
Fall 2007, Vol. 48, No. 3
Spring 2007, Vol. 48, No. 1
Fall/Winter 2006, Vol 47, No 3/4
Summer 2006, Vol 47, No 2
Indigeneity at the Crossroads of American Studies , Vol. 46, Nos. 3/4
, Volume 52, Number 2