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

Critical perspectives and emerging models of inter-American Studies , Vol. 3, No. 4

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.

Introduction: Critical perspectives and emerging models of inter-American Studies

Inter-American studies or Imperial American studies?

As inter-American studies gain greater academic visibility, we are now in a position to ask whether the field constitutes an imperial threat to Latin American literary and cultural study, or whether it provides a valuable basis for cross-cultural comparison. Do inter-American studies represent the latest variation on the Monroe Doctrine of policing the region? What do we make of the fact that inter-American studies blossoms just as Latin Americanism becomes increasingly more powerful in the academy? This article argues that while questions of empire and appropriation must be considered as we assess this burgeoning field of inquiry, an inter-American perspective also affords possibilities for studying cultural production. These possibilities include comparative studies of works that have been largely marginalized by scholars of the Americas, such as Brazilian and indigenous literatures. In addition, the inter-American approach is able to put pressure on nationalist and cultural essentialist epistemes by focusing on the ways that culture often transgresses borders, both geographic and identitarian.

Inter-American studies or Imperial American studies?

During the age of Pan-Americanism (1890—1940), US universities built impressive collections of books, periodicals, government papers, and manuscripts relating to Latin America. Collectors showed great interest in documents and books of the early Spanish colonial period, and they also gathered materials that could help account for the contemporary progress of Latin American societies. Implicit in these early library collections was the assumption that, in order to facilitate commerce and investment in the region, a prior understanding of Latin American culture, society and politics was needed. Hence, humanist and material interests converged in the building of comprehensive collections of ‘Latin Americana’, well before the formation of Latin American studies. The collective enterprise of building Latin American collections is placed in relation to the parallel and interwoven processes of development of mass-consumer capitalism and the emergence of research universities. Placing the origins of a regional knowledge within the context of capital accumulation and the materiality of ‘book accumulation’ contributes towards a better understanding of US—Latin American relations and, indirectly, towards a re-thinking of the true origins of multi-disciplinarity and area studies. Much before the Cold War, book-collectors, librarians and bibliographers had contributed to frame the foundations (the questions, interests and arguments) of what would become later the field called ‘Latin American studies’.

Nothing that is earthly: Ideology, performance and colonial difference

Recent scholarship on the early Americas has posited performance as the site where colonial difference is enacted. This article examines the ways in which performance was used to disseminate (and conversely, to subvert) Christian ideology in New Spain, in dialogic texts such as Sahagún's Colloquios and in missionary plays by Father Andrés de Olmos and others.

Some reflections on contemporary writing in the indigenous languages of America

This article surveys recent literatures in the indigenous languages of Latin America. The past decade has witnessed a continent-wide rise in indigenous-language publications — a rise calling for a re-evaluation of the critical state of indigenous rights and language policies that was expressed in the context of protests around the quincentennial celebrations of Columbus' ‘discovery’ of the Americas. The new wave of indigenous literatures has arisen in the wake of dramatic acts of violence, such as military repression and neoliberal economic restructuring. However, the large-scale displacement of indigenous peoples that has resulted from these processes has also provoked a desire among indigenous writers to utilize print media in order to preserve knowledge and communal memory. Drawing on specific examples from contemporary indigenous poetry of Peru and Mexico, the article argues that indigenous literature challenges conceptions of indigenous expressive culture as inherently oral, traditional, rural, and communitarian.

Social production of representations of ideas of civil society: The role of transnational networks of local and global actors

In this era of globalization, the social production of social representations of ideas of civil society is related to processes that involve the participation both of local and/or national actors as well as of transnational actors. In an effort to understand how these processes occur, in this article I analyze the practices of multilateral banks, non-governmental agencies, and governmental, intergovernmental and para-governmental agencies from the United States and several European countries. I also analyze the practices of some local and national actors from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.

Sketches of identities from the Mexico—US border (or the other way around)

For someone interested in studying the cultures and literatures of Mexico's northern border or those of the US Southwest, it is important to take into account that when trying to investigate the subjects or objects of study — human, textual, or visual — one cannot put aside the ever-present tension between national and regional discourses, nor overlook symbolic representations of those discourses. Consequently, this article proposes to sketch and reflect about some identities of Mexico's northern border that have been articulated from different perspectives and inscribed in literary texts and national and international cinemas. It will also reflect on cultural production from and about Ciudad Juárez at the turn of the 21st century and how that cultural production dialogues with different symbolic representations.

Other Issues

, Volume 6, Number 3
, Volume 6, Number 2
'De-Americanizing the Global' , Vol. 3, No. 3
June 2005, Vol. 3, No. 2
Canada and the Americas , Vol. 3, No. 1