Vol 5 No 3–4 (2012): Five Years of RIAS—RIAS Vol. 5, Fall–Winter (3–4/2012)

When RIAS was born six years ago as the Review of International American Studies, it identified itself as sort of a fledgling but welcome intellectual cache, a safe place where often controversial debate about the nature of American Studies could continue and develop among like minds, interested in exploring the meaning of ‘international’ in a discipline that had for so long been overshadowed and circumscribed by the country for which the term ‘American’ stood. As an offshoot of the burgeoning International American Studies Association (founded in Bellagio, Italy in 2000), the journal quickly became a clearinghouse for further investigation of issues raised in heady discussions—facilitated by regular international conference calls—among the members of its Executive Council living and working on nearly every continent in the world. With two successful World Congresses behind it (Leiden, Netherlands, 2003 and Ottawa, Canada, 2005), by 2006 the International American Studies Association had established itself as an organization whose alternative approach to the discipline of American Studies provided an internationally recognized forum where contributions to American Studies reaching outside the usual box were not only welcomed, but expected, and offered a previously non-existent means of intellectual and professional legitimization. In the context of the International American Studies Association, American Studies could stretch beyond its own boundaries as a discipline in ways that had to that time either not been possible or not been given much credence in the more traditional context of American Studies Associations at home and abroad. Fixing upon the centrality and importance of interaction between disparate American Studies Associations across the world, the International American Studies Association sought to bring to the field a new dimension, a way to get at its object of study from the outside, transcending traditional formulations to view, understand, investigate and even critique the discipline through an international lens meant to destabilize the hegemony of the ever-present problems presented by its seemingly inescapable roots in American exceptionalism and imperialism. [...] In bringing together these essays, we invite readers to take this opportunity to stop and reflect—on where RIAS began, where it has been, how far it has come, and where it may go in the future. By persisting in its efforts to supply timely, original, quality, peer-reviewed scholarship on topics and issues that are crucial to the ongoing development of the discipline of American Studies and relevant to the intellectual preoccupations of the IASA community (and all beyond it who are interested in that growth), RIAS will continue to reach beyond itself in offering alternative ways to think about the evolving field of American Studies. From small review to full-fledged, peer-reviewed, professional journal and beyond, RIAS has much to celebrate—ergo the present Anniversary Issue. (Read more inside)

Full Issue

Paweł Jędrzejko
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch’ien