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

June 2005, Vol. 3, No. 2

Ida B. Wells and her allies against lynching: A transnational perspective

This article provides a transnational perspective on the alliance of the African American journalist Ida B. Wells with the white American writer Albion W. Tourgée and the British Quaker anti-imperialist Catherine Impey in seeking to mobilize British public opinion against the US national crime of lynching. It focuses on Wells’s 1893 and 1894 lecture tours of the British Isles and on the journalism she, Tourgée and Impey produced during their collaboration. The article argues that all three sought to create ‘imagined communities’ of activists who could work together for universal equality, but that each articulated a distinctive form of transnationalist consciousness and adopted a rhetoric in keeping with it.

Pearl S. Buck as cosmopolitan critic

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), or as she liked to be remembered in Chinese, "(see PDF for character)" though one of the most popular writers in her times, has traditionally warranted little critical attention and understanding due to the transnational and cross-cultural nature of her literary practices. Today, as our world becomes much closer and smaller and our critical vision becomes more global and comparative, the cross-cultural writings of Buck will regain their significance when her own double-identity claim is taken seriously. I will argue in this article that, while critical reception of Buck’s works in both China and the USA came from nationalist assumptions, the significance of Buck’s literary and cultural practices lies precisely in the fact that Buck was a cosmopolitan intellectual doubly critical of both Chinese and American nationalisms.

The institutional origins of American literary history

This article deals with the importance of institutions in the construction of literary classifications. Following Mary Douglas, the article offers a double-stranded perspective on institutions that stresses both their social and cognitive anchorage. This is applied to one particular case, namely the genealogy connecting Emerson (and the Transcendentalists) to Jonathan Edwards. The article shows how Perry Miller’s ‘discovery’ of that lineage in 1940 has an institutional history that goes as far back as the early beginnings of American literature as an academic discipline. Part of the function of the discipline, the article argues, is to hide this history in order to bring out the continuing relevance of such taxonomies. The concluding paragraph identifies some implications of this view on institutionalization for current discussions about the (post-) nationality of American literature.

The transnational turn, Houston Baker’s new southern studies and Patrick Neate’s Twelve Bar Blues

This article considers Houston Baker’s take on the ‘new southern studies’ in Turning South Again (2001) in relation to the transnational turn in American studies and Paul Gilroy’s theory of the ‘Black Atlantic’. The article begins by pointing out that the vision of ‘the South’ formulated in southern (literary) studies during and after the 1950s frequently cut against the nationalism and exceptionalism central to the development of American studies in the same period. However, southern literary critics and writers (both white and black) developed their own exceptionalist and nativist models of identity, including Donald Davidson’s ‘autochthonous ideal’ and the ‘Quentissential fallacy’ - in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, Quentin Compson’s claim that ‘you would have to be born’ in the South to understand it. A transnational turn displaces such southern exceptionalism and nativism. However, Baker’s ‘new southern studies’ approach to African-American experience (from slavery to ‘United States black modernism’) proceeds through a predominantly regional-national framework and privileges ‘the South’ and his own native southern authority. From a transnational perspective, Baker’s approach becomes problematic when it facilitates the ‘Quentissential’ repudiation of Gilroy’s Black Atlantic. The article concludes by discussing the transnational South of Patrick Neate’s novel, Twelve Bar Blues, with reference to Gilroy and songs by Billie Holiday and Eric B and Rakim.

Selling or buying American dreams? Americanization and Australia’s interwar advertising industry

During the interwar period, the US industrial and financial sectors expanded at a phenomenal rate. Despite the Depression, America had become an economic, industrial, and cultural powerhouse by the beginning of the Second World War. The advertising industry had been both a beneficiary of this growth and, indeed, a key contributor - spreading the American Dream to national and international audiences, including Australia. An important member of this audience was Australia’s advertising industry. Like its American counterpart, the local advertising industry was directly involved in the process of Americanization. However, the Australian advertising industry did not simply ape its American counterparts. By examining the discourse of America in interwar Australian advertising literature, this article argues that the Australian advertising industry was interested in American advertising methods and techniques because they had been devised by the most modern advertising industry in the world. For Australian advertising agents, Americanization was simply viewed as a means to an end - to maximize consumption.

Other Issues

, Volume 6, Number 3
, 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
Canada and the Americas , Vol. 3, No. 1