Creating an
within the
American Studies Association

In order to create / register a new caucus, the caucuses will be
 asked to submit a description, including their rationale and purpose,
an agenda with their plans and goals, and contact
information.  -- Crossroads' Caucus Page

Rationale and Purpose:

A question that this title raises is “By ‘early,’ do you mean pre-1900?  Prior to the so-called American Renaissance?  pre-1800?  Maybe even pre-European contact?,” and a legitimate answer would be Yes, as in Yes to all of the above.

We know that a number of our colleagues who attend A.S.A. conferences -- as well as many more prospective participants -- have research interests touching on those earlier periods. We know that alongside the re-invigoration of American Studies during the past two decades there has been a flourishing of interdisciplinary attention to America before the Civil War, before the Revolutionary War, before slavery came to the English colonies, before there were European colonies throughout these continents.  We know too that many of today’s most fiercely contested issues crystallized in antbellum America:  what political models, what forms of association, what ideological programs will be dominant?  We also know that as scholarship flourishes around such questions and issues, it not only crosses these fairly arbitrary temporal boundaries (1900, the 1850s, 1800, and so on) but also takes us across traditional disciplinary lines.

We also know, alas, that for the past decade and more, the programs of A.S.A. conferences have included a paucity of matters early American.  Another question, then, suggests itself:

Shouldn’t the A.S.A.’s menu of caucuses include one
whose title bears these keywords early and matters?

We say Yes, and we relish that prospect.

Agenda, with Plans and Goals:

·        hosting a Meet-Up at the A.S.A.’s ’004 conference in Atlanta

·        periodically encouraging participants and colleagues to propose papers and sessions for A.S.A. meetings,  
 nationally, regionally, and internationally

·        establishing a simple website (for starters it will be at, via
 Florida State’s Program in American and Florida Studies)

·        possibly setting up a listserv, depending on the need;  meanwhile, circulating any announcements via
 existing lists (e.g., H-AmStdy and those of the Society of Early Americanists and of the Omohundro Institute)

·        presumably increasing A.S.A. membership from within the growing community of early Americanists

Contact information / Won’t you join us?

This diverse and interdisciplinary list of two dozen co-proposers includes a range of junior and senior faculty members, graduate students, and academic administrators representing both private and public institutions, large and small, as well as the editor of publications at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.
    To add your name to our list of members, simply send an e-mail to, saying to sign you up.

Yael Ben-Zvi
Postdoc at Ben-Gurion University in Israel

John Brooke
History, Ohio State University

Lorrayne A. Carroll
English and Women’s Studies, University of Southern Maine

Michael P. Clark
English and Comparative Literature at University of California at Irvine, where he’s also Associate Executive Vice Chancellor

Shannon Lee Dawdy
Historical Anthropology, University of Chicago

Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
Co-Director of the Dartmouth Future of American Studies Institute;  English and American Studies, Yale University

Jane Donahue Eberwein
Membership and Finances Officer, Society for the Study of American Women Writers;  English, Oakland University

Jenifer Elmore
English, Wilkes Honor College at Florida Atlantic University

Sandra Gustafson
Book Review Editor, Early American Literature;  English, University of Notre Dame

Christine Jones Huber
Assistant Curator of Exhibitions, Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill

Mary Kelley
former A.S.A. president;  History and American Studies, University of Michigan

Karen Kilcup
President, Society for the Study of American Women Writers;  English, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Annette Kolodny
College of Humanities Professor of American Literature and Culture, University of Arizona

Cristine Levenduski
Co-Chair, ’004 Annual Meeting Site Resource Committee; American Studies, Emory University

Margaret Lovell
History of Art at University of California, Berkeley, where she is Director of American Studies

Joanne Pope Melish
Author of “Where Have All the Earlier American Studies Gone?,” essay in Sept ’002 ASA Newsletter;  History at University of Kentucky, where she directs the Program in American Studies

Dennis Moore
English and American Studies, Florida State University

E. David Morgen
Graduate student in English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Rick Rodriguez
Graduate student in English, Loyola University-Chicago

Deborah Rosenfelt
Women’s Studies and American Studies, University of Maryland

Robert Blair St. George
History, University of Pennsylvania, and director of the Program in Public Culture

Stephen Shapiro
English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick in the U.K.

Frank Shuffelton
English, University of Rochester

Fredrika J. Teute
Editor of Publications, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Rafia Zafar
Co-chair, 2004 American StudiesAssociation annual convention;  Professor of English, American Culture, and African and Afro-American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Early American Matters Caucus

FSU's American Studies Homepage