Founded In    2003
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English; though the review carries abstracts in more than one language, as appropriate

Fields of Interest


Interdisciplinary American Studies, spanning all the disciplines within American studies

ISSN   1477-5700
Editorial Board

The Editor of the journal is R. J. Ellis, the Associate Editor Paul Giles, and the editorial board includes Jane Desmond, Ien Ang, Kosar Jabeen Azam, Alfred Bendixen, Gert Buelens, Theo D’haen, Maria Giulia Fabi, Robert Gross, Djelal Kadir, Karen Kilcup, Elaine Kim, Scott Lucas, Lucy Maddox, Maureen Montgomery, David E. Nye, Donald E. Pease, Rafael Perez-Torres, John Carlos Rowe, Christopher Saunders, Werner Sollors, Sonia Torres, Rob Wilson.


Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Essays should be submitted to the editor: R. J. Ellis

Comparative American Studies welcomes submissions; contributors may like to check out the journal’s approach to the fields of American Studies by examining the journal’s past contents ( We would stress that the term ‘comparativism’ is very broadly understood (the emerging term for this is ‘messy comparativism’). In Comparative American Studies it can encompass both/either international (e.g., transnational) and/or US national (e.g., inter-ethnic) levels of comparison. We would also like to stress that our concept of comparativism embraces all disciplines and inter-disciplines.

Review essays should be submitted to the editor, R. J. Ellis:

Reviews should be submitted to the reviews editor, Graham Thompson, who should be contacted first:



Comparative American Studies: An International Journal

Fully refereed, Comparative American Studies features scholarly articles repositioning discussions about American culture and society within an international framework, by taking account of interactions between the U.S. and the world and on comparative rearticulations of the idea of America.

The journal also has a reviews section, and accepts review essays.

It publishes indexes annually:
  Index to volume 1 (2003):
  Index to volume 2 (2004):
  Index to volume 3 (2005):



» Visit Journal Web Site

, Volume 6, Number 3

The Antinomy of Multilingual US Literature

After September 2001, among other effects that may or may not have been foreseen, the new direction of US national political imperatives revived support for foreign language learning as a component of human or cultural intelligence. Across the political spectrum, competence in languages other than English is now acknowledged as a serious weakness of educational, economic, and military resources in the United States. In the critical study of contemporary literature, the multilingual spirit of this new emphasis collides with the monolingual letter of the publication industry that produces books. In the production of research objects for scholars of contemporary literature, language difference, the ground zero of multiple language acquisition, is displaced by translative representation of language difference. To the extent that scholars understand themselves as analysts of already given objects, regarding intervention in the process of literary production as beyond their practical or desired ability, the premium placed on language difference here is insufficiently theorized.

‘Sobre Las Olas’: A Mexican Genesis in Borderlands Jazz and the Legacy for Ethnic Studies

In 1884 the Mexican government sent a national military band to the Cotton Exposition in New Orleans. When the Fair ended in 1885, several of these musicians remained in the city. By the 1890s, many of New Orleans' and Texas' most promising Black jazz and blues artists were acquiring musical instruction from Mexicano musicians. The evidence presented in this article recalls the centuries-long parallels and meeting points between Black and Mexicano histories of subjugation and resilience, of political suppression and cultural expression, and of the inevitable exchanges that occur through migration and culture among marginalized communities. I argue that the presence of Mexico and Mexicans in the jazz and blues history of the borderlands inspires a reconsideration of relational identities and cultural productions that lie outside the bounds of traditional racial and historical discourses.

Redefining the American Revolutionary: Gabriela Mistral on José Martí

This essay criticizes the historical investment of Martí's readers in a discourse that values conservative, sexually unambiguous femininity and masculinity. The essay grapples with the vituperative register of José Martí's misogyny in order to reveal another version of the American revolutionary. Drawing on one of his earliest feminist critics, Gabriela Mistral, I show how corporeal tropes in Martí's rhetoric betray instances of empathy with emerging alternative practices of femininity and masculinity. Assisted by Mistral's overlooked and overtly gendered critique, this essay limns a tropical Martí -- an embodied, sensual, demonumentalized poet who plays with language. In readings of Mistral's several essays devoted to Martí, the essay shows how Mistral's Martí represents an alternative to the heroic masculinism and violent militarism of a longstanding revolutionary American tradition.

‘A Cultural Mongrel’: Transatlantic Connections in Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage

Drawing on a variety of philosophical and critical views, this paper dis cusses the way in which Charles Johnson's Middle Passage reconsiders the African American character, in the context of transatlantic slave history. The argument centers upon Johnson's ability to construct innovative, mongrelized versions of black identity through a continuous process of rewriting key texts such as Equiano's Narrative, Melville's 'Benito Cereno', and Conrad's Heart of Darkness. In this never-ending cross-cultural exchange, Johnson's novel offers a fresh perception of black identity, while simultaneously throwing new light upon the earlier narratives. Pointing to Johnson's Heraclitean view of identity, the paper analyzes how the main character's transatlantic journal incorporates a multitude of perspectives that make him question his own assumptions, discover his roots, and live with alterity by seeing himself as another.

‘Ancient + Future = Now’: Goa Gil and Transnational Neo-Tribalism in Global Rave Culture

This article posits the case study of rave music DJ Goa Gil as a dynamic example of the transnational, deterritorializing flows that inform the community formation and signifying practices of contemporary rave culture. Intended as a commentary on the changing nature of subcultural formation and practice, Goa Gil's story reveals a complex pattern of transnational and transcultural networks and exchanges. From 1960s American hippy to global rave music DJ, guru, and nomad, Goa Gil is one of the subculture's progenitors of neo-tribalism, a discursive and symbolic trope that allows ravers to imagine, and give name to, their transnational communities of affect that cross national and cultural borders. Set within a social context of advanced information technologies and rapidly changing modes of communication, neo-tribalism, as a critical concept, can be easily applied to any number of communities of affect across the globe, paving the way for a re-evaluation of (sub)cultural inter-connectedness in the early twenty-first century.

The Problems of Public Relations: Eisenhower, Latin America and the Potential Lessons for the Bush A

Accompanied by intense media interest, President George W. Bush visited Latin America in March 2007. The trip, it seemed, was a rather obvious attempt to try and improve inter-American relations by demonstrating that the US did care about is neighbours to the South; to counter the seemingly endless bad press and repair some of the damage done to the American brand by Bush's policies and the influence of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez. As this article will demonstrate, though, this was reminiscent of another era: that of the 1950s and the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Throughout his eight years in office, Eisenhower would consistently use public relations operations as a way of improving inter-American relations. However, the intense problems that this eventually brought about suggest that the present administration may have been misguided in its attempts to follow a similar path to its Republican predecessor's.

Other Issues

, Volume 6, Number 2
Critical perspectives and emerging models of inter-American Studies , Vol. 3, No. 4
'De-Americanizing the Global' , Vol. 3, No. 3
June 2005, Vol. 3, No. 2
Canada and the Americas , Vol. 3, No. 1