Studies: Approaches and Concepts"
Studies of America are at least as old as the Age of Exploration. European artists, philosophers, cartographers, theologians, investors, and adventurers were trading depictions of America for centuries before there was anything very cohesive, much less well known to them, about the place. As a discrete field of learning, though, American Studies is relatively young. Most of the modern disciplines of the liberal arts professionalized in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but even isolated references to American Studies (a.k.a. "Americanistics" or "American Civilization") cannot be found much before 1920. The first regular supply of degrees, conferences, and publications bearing the name dates from the mid 1930s. A full academic infrastructure -- curriculum, scholarly associations, journals, departments or programs, publication series, and professional positions specific to the field -- took another twenty years to develop. In the U.S. the growth of American Studies only became a recognizable "movement" in colleges and universities in the early 1960s. With some important exceptions, it developed elsewhere (in secondary schools and museums in the U.S. and in higher education outside the U.S.) in the 1970s.
Despite its youth American Studies has several histories. Accounts of its aims have varied greatly. In some parts of the world, especially in universities in the United States since the mid 1950s, the field seems perpetually in an identity crisis. Scholars are both eager to be counted part of the field and loath to define it. Many of the field’s leaders have treated the mere mention of "method" as if it were a threat to intellectual liberty. Humanists, who increasingly dominate the field in the U.S., particularly worry about the prospect of creeping "methodolatry" (Joel M. Jones word for it) whereby robotic regimens supplant creativity and common sense. Instead, "method" could be understood, as the founder of sociology Émile Durkheim recommended, to indicate a more general, articulate but evolving disposition. Any collective endeavor might be expected to nurture a particular quality of curiosity. But "method" in U.S. American Studies has more often been considered a tool of scientistic totalitarians. In this respect U.S. Americanists defend their liberty in a stereotypically "American" way. The freedom to act as an individual, independent of a group, is more precious than the freedom to act as a member of one.
U.S. publications on American Studies method hence have an elusively scrappy or passive-aggressive tone. Authors conjure, disavow, demonize, or resurrect intellectual spirits so discreetly that it is hard to know precisely what is at stake. Readers new to this literature are apt to wonder what all of the fuss is about. At issue is the definition of the field, the identity, purpose, tolerance, and capacities of its teachers and students.
In most of the rest of the world, especially where English is a foreign language, the actual practice of American Studies has varied even more widely but rallied more readily around a single, broad aim: understanding a place called "America." Commencing with the onset of "the American Century" and accelerating rapidly during the Cold War with encouragement from the United States Information Agency and the Fulbright Program, American Studies in most places has meant considering "American stuff," America-related topics and materials of any variety in any way. Outside the United States, then, American Studies has consistently supported regular exchanges with a larger range of fields: business, policy, and social sciences as well as arts and humanities.
Any one set of topics or one discipline or a few of each may dominate the practice of American Studies in a school or a whole nation or region of the globe for a time. In universities in Spain, for example, American Studies has emphasized the long history, literature, and culture of its former colonies (especially Mexico), while in China the field has stressed recent diplomatic, strategic, and trade relations with the U.S. In many secondary schools outside the U.S. the name "American Studies" means, in effect, instruction in a Midwestern dialect of English as a second language. In U.S. high schools, it may be just a new name for the traditional survey of domestic history and government or for an "enriched," team-taught variant. "American Studies" is a ready rubric for just about any course that humanities and social studies staff improvise and that includes lots of American stuff.
Since in the late twentieth century the U.S. gained powers that could scarcely be ignored anywhere on the planet, it would seem an unproblematic focus, a perfectly sensible academic target. But at least since the mid 1980s, U.S. scholars and others moved by colonial experience or post-colonial theory have worried greatly about a residue of ambiguity in this conception of the field, in particular, in the word "American."
For some scholars, the word refers to a geographic site, a locale that could be fixed on a map. Unfortunately, it rarely is. It might be as large as both halves of the Western Hemisphere, only the northern half, or the portion that lies roughly between the 49th Parallel and the Río Bravo. For other scholars (or the same ones on different occasions), "America" is a political designation, a shorthand for the jurisdiction of the United States of America (and/or the governments that it has subsumed). For yet other scholars or purposes, "America" is a symbol, a name for the qualities that people associate with a geopolitical terrain. It is their sense of the place. It is a subjective, contestable entity, more like a set of feelings, ideas, or ways of life than a tangible or legal object. It might be bounded by nothing more substantial than sentiment (or as de Tocqueville would have it, a "habit of the heart"), with familiarity on one side and estrangement on the other. Its contents can be shaped not only by topography, law, and power but also by word-of-mouth, ritual, the circulation of goods, arts, and amusements, flights of fancy, and acts of will. This is the sense of the word to which more plainly controversial terms like "Americanism" or "Americanization" appeal.
Given this variation in usage, whether defined spatially, politically, or symbolically, the "America" that American Studies scholars aim to understand is itself an elusive target.
For most of the history of the field most Americanists, like most non-academics, have assumed that most senses of the word "America" actually do or ought to converge. They suppose that the U.S. terrain, its government, and the ways of life of its people comprise a single, even if conflicted, whole -- a "culture" -- that is distinguishable from the contributions of annexed territories, populations, and polities. For better or worse, America is supposed to be unique. When assembled on North American soil, subject to an American government, citizens supposedly participate in the making of a "New World." Scholars have long disagreed about the extent to which the U.S. actually has achieved such a "special prospect," but there has seldom been much doubt that (also for better or worse) it has one.
In the 1950s and early 1960s U.S. scholars from a broad range of humanities and social sciences lent this notion -- "American exceptionalism" -- academic credibility. Among the most renowned were Ethel Albert, Gabriel Almond, Daniel Bell, Ray Allen Billington, Daniel Boorstin, Henry Steele Commager, Cora Du Bois, Erik Erikson, Richard Hofstadter, Francis Hsu, Orin Klapp, Florence Kluckhohn, Clyde Klukhohn, John Kouwenhoven, Harold Laski, Max Lerner, Seymour Lipset, F. O. Mattheisson, Margaret Mead, Perry Miller, David Potter, David Riesman, Arthur Schlesinger, Henry Nash Smith, and William Whyte. But there are also much older precedents. Pioneering scholars like Constance Rourke and Vernon Parrington published theories of American distinctiveness in the 1920s and 1930s, as Henry Adams and Frederick Jackson Turner did in the early 1890s, Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s, or for that matter, John Winthrop in 1630. Proponents of American exceptionalism can be found throughout international literature for centuries.
In documenting that distinctiveness they cite a bewildering array of influences: God’s grace, Puritan theocracy or the separation of church and state, early colonists’ military might or their resistance to diseases that they spread, the timing and composition of particular waves of immigration, the "availability" of arable land, continental abundance or regional shortages of resources, free enterprise or slavery, the spirit of science or unfettered individualism, political liberty or the suppression of dissent, technological prowess or omnivorous consumerism, mobility, individualism or conformity, pragmatism or idealism, relative peace and prosperity or racism and violence. Whatever the explanation, at issue has been less whether there is anything distinctly "American" -- a way of life uniquely associated with a population, a setting, and a nation-state -- than the best way to describe and evaluate it.
U.S. Americanists have consistently explored such questions through history and the humanities, but from the 1950s through the 1980s, they also turned to the social sciences for help in integrating the two. A key resource was the concept of "culture" that Western psychological, social, and market scientists developed (struggling to find a substitute for "race") in the first decades of the twentieth century. Governments advanced the concept during World War I and canonized it during World War II. Combatants employed the best of their countries’ scholars to monitor and manipulate morale. In treating the will to fight as resource of the state, they rendered people’s culture their "national character." Whatever the particulars of each analysis (e.g., the alleged role of parenting styles, wealth, or social structure – and hence the efficacy of propaganda -- for Japanese versus Americans), analysts generally looked for cultural differences between nations and consistency within them. Hence, although this work is often remembered for its emphasis on "consensus," it is worth remembering that conflict (albeit inter- rather than intra-national) was its inspiration.
After World War II, especially in the U.S., scholars elaborated and refined theories attending this work. At issue was how better to identify and explain social patterns, particularly the relations between group experience (say, as a nationality or historical cohort) and individual thought. From the 1940s through the 1980s, Americanists aimed to integrate this theory with their knowledge of U.S. history and the arts. In alliance with semioticians and cognitivists (especially psychologists, linguists, and anthropologists), they began exploring new ways to understand particular societies in light of mounting evidence both (1) that all people are, in important respects, remarkably alike and (2) that compatriots often profoundly differ. Largely through the leadership of the American Civilization Program at the University of Pennsylvania (e.g., Murray Murphey, Gordon Kelley, John Caughey, Jay Mechling, Richard Horwitz, Janis Radway), these epistemological questions and the social and psychological dimensions of "the culture concept" became central to American Studies.
As early as the mid-1970s, these cognitively oriented scholars were abandoning normative objectives (like "national character" or "personality"). They recognized that, if reified (via "nominalism" or "essentialism"), these generalizations would pale before the dynamism of everyday life and render rebellion inscrutable. They accepted the challenge that, with due attention to the complex ways that people, circumstances, and institutions interact, nothing would ever again seem transparently "American," no matter where and how one looked. In particular, it was no longer obvious that the U.S. Constitution or Leaves of Grass better bespoke American culture (or "cultures," as it was more often put) than Charlotte’s Web, piñatas, or a tune by Theloneous Monk. The patterns of everyday life seemed less like "a replication of uniformity" (a smoothly functioning, self-sustaining system of like-mindedness) and more like an "organization of diversity" (a concocted compact among people who need not – and for most purposes, in fact, cannot – share each others’ thoughts.)
Culture thereby was understood as the key arena for the "the social construction of reality," the process whereby illusory notions like "national character" or "America" were posited and perpetuated. Under the influence of diverse philosophers such as Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, Hilary Putman, Willard Quine, or Richard Rorty and social scientists such as Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, Herbert Blumer, Arlie Russell Hochschild, George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman, or Harold Garfinkel, Americanists began rethinking how, in the absence of any privileged starting point ("foundationalism") anyone might make credible generalizations about America.
Also in the 1980s, in response to intensifying demands for self-determination at the U.S. borders and among domestically oppressed groups, attention shifted to the relationships among those three senses of the term "American." Since the label has both an ambiguous referent and political connotations, scholars have become more sensitive to the consequences of designating anything in or out of it. Since, too, the label can be either honorific or pejorative, people in and around the U.S. have good reason to be wary. Depending on the generalization in question, they might insist on being included or excluded from it. In focusing on allegedly "mainstream" or "dominant" traits, Americanists risk signaling that these people -- in total, the majority of Americans by any definition -- do not count.
Scholars, especially in the U.S., now tend to argue that faithfulness to the historical record and basic fairness require a more measured, less ambiguous and presumptuous use of the word "American." At the very least scholars expect more demographic precision. By the early 1990s U.S. Americanists demanded careful attention to ways that gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, region, and class as well as chronology condition their generalizations. With each passing year, as the global circulation of goods and communications intensifies, it becomes harder to think of America as a freestanding whole or to imagine that it ever was one.
The "studies" part of the name of the field has also encompassed significant variation. In general, the term has signaled an approach that is vaguely "interdisciplinary." Exactly which disciplines are broached or how they are bridged remains uncertain. Regardless, American Studies, especially in the U.S., is proudly not disciplinary, at least not in the same way as fields with which it most often trades: language and literature, history, political science, art, sociology, communications, film, museology, folklore, music, anthropology. American Studies may engage people or interpretive strategies from these "regular" disciplines, but it remains in some ways smaller (in its focus on but one place) and larger (in its methodological eclecticism) than any one of them. It shares this hybrid quality with other fields that have "studies" in their names.
Between the 1930s and 1950s the first of them ("area studies") in the U.S. were chiefly defined around parts of the world that seemed culturally or strategically distinct in relation to Western, industrialized states. Beginning in the late 1960s, their number rapidly multiplied and their principle of definition changed. Focusing mainly on U.S. "minorities" with organized, articulate advocates, these programs were a low-budget, curricular response to social movements (e.g., the Civil Rights movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement) demanding "relevance" and recognition of diversity on U.S. campuses. Americanists generally supported the development of these kindred African-, Native-, Latino/a-, and Asian-American, women’s, ethnic, gender, sexuality, queer, and environmental studies programs. Although relations among these programs were often troubled, they similarly styled themselves young and rebellious when compared to "regular" liberal arts. Although they differ greatly in official favor, subject matter, and approach, they share at least this pride in their difference from academic business as usual. In many cases, that is all that the word "studies" (and by implication, "interdisciplinary") is taken to mean.
The most common way that American Studies relates to affiliated disciplines is as a bricolage. Candidates for an American Studies degree are ordinarily required to take America-oriented courses in several academic departments. The selection and sequence is seldom stipulated. U.S. Americanists are expected to be comfortable with more than one of the media (sources of "texts") that traditionally distinguish areas of expertise (e.g., novels or artifacts as well as archival records, or paintings and music as well as polls). Although print is favored, any supplement will do. Scholars who augment the definition of sources favored in their home discipline might thereby consider themselves "interdisciplinary" without ever leaving home. Or their purpose may be more ambitiously "trans-disciplinary," a deliberate, discipline-crossing quest for methods and materials that complement each other.
More commonly, however, Americanists boast of "borrowing" insights hither and yon. While "regular" disciplines might demand high regard for the epistemology and pedigree of each of their approaches, Americanists are apt to grab and mix anything that works. Theirs is a can-do spirit -- "a kind of principled opportunism," Henry Nash Smith dubbed it in 1957. Ever since, U.S. Americanists have been willing to face the charge that they are dilettantes, if the compensation includes insights that academic sectarianism and meta-theory impede.
The oldest line of methodological discussion in American Studies revolves around the promise of just such integration: Can or even should American Studies develop a method of its own? For most of its history, the answer has been a resounding, "No." After all, most people who "do American Studies" are already responsible to the rigors of a home discipline. Back in "regular" departments there is no shortage of methods for Americanists to borrow (and often better employment opportunity). The vitality of the field, most argue, depends on improvisation, the mixing of ingredients that are as diverse as possible. Leave it to the disciplines to develop them. Strategies can be cobbled to fit the particular interpreter, curiosity, and source material at hand. It is through the absence of a regimen that American Studies has earned its distinction.
One problem with this view is that in hindsight it has been relatively easy to detect regimens in the field. Both outside the U.S. and inside it (at least through the mid 1950s), such regimens were generally those of individual, contemporary liberal arts. There has been nothing particularly trans-disciplinary or even "not-disciplinary" about it. Even the pioneers of improvisation just basted a couple of methods together and left the edges unhemmed.
For example, when preparing his classic Main Currents in American Thought, Vernon Parrington chose an unconventional mix of sources -- a sample of U.S. literature and history. At the time (the 1920s) most English departments belittled American (vs. British) literature, as history departments did the arts. Rather than finding a ready-made position at an East-Coast university, Parrington had to earn his living, among other things, coaching football at the University of Oklahoma. As Gene Wise, the most credited chronicler of the field, has argued, Parrington’s work on Main Currents -- its range, passion, and critical edge -- inspired subsequent generations of Americanists. To this day, introductory American Studies courses in the U.S. draw from the well that he dug.
But the way he dug, his mode of research, was hardly original. He more or less sorted readings conventional in one discipline into a chronology conventional in another. He interpreted literature (stressing belles-lettres) as if it expressed the sociopolitical vision of its authors. He then classified those visions as tacking through time -- periods of looking forward and then back -- in the manner of the then-fashionable "progressive" historians of American politics. Furthermore, at least since the early Eighteenth Century, Western philosophers have consulted both history and the arts to assess national achievement. The strategy was less controversial than the standard of judgment. At issue then -- and in some measure still -- is whether critics should advocate "achievement" by standards that owe more to the Enlightenment (universalizing, rational; the French civilisation) or Romanticism (localizing, spiritual; the German Kultur). In general, more social scientifically inclined Americanists or more Marxist humanists tend to credit the first; humanists, the second. In the 1990s, as humanists tracking "identity" and the discursive dimensions of culture flooded into American Studies in the U.S., the terms of criticism became more Romantic. It is perhaps telling that an alternative name for the field -- "American Civilization" – has fallen into disrepute precisely because of its Enlightenment implications.
The first -- and by some accounts the only -- truly distinctive method ever to be fully developed and hegemonic in U.S. American Studies was a variant on these precedents. First centered in the 1950s at the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, and Amherst College, the approach became known (10 to 15 years later) as "myth-and-symbol." Its sources for analysis were primarily drawn from literature and history. The evolution in patterns of particularly complex, evocative ("powerful") images and stories ("symbols" and "myths") in those sources was taken to reflect the course of dominant ideas in their time. The ideas that drew attention, then, were mainly matters of national political dispute that were evident at once in public letters and public affairs. These ideas, in turn, became the object of Americanists’ criticism, generally from a Cold-War liberal point of view. They aimed to distinguish the best from the worst propensities of "the American mind."
The earliest and most celebrated example of myth-and-symbol was Virgin Land, published by Henry Nash Smith in 1950. Like many who were inspired by his work, Smith focused on the way that Europeans and their descendants established dominion over the continent (albeit, with scant reference to New Spain, slavery, the Civil War, people of color, or women of any sort.) Although they normally insist on their individuality, scholars associated with this school of thought during its heyday (roughly the 1950s to the mid 1970s) include not only Smith but also Daniel Aaron, Allen Guttman, Leo Marx, Alan Tracthtenberg, R. W. B. Lewis, Roy Harvey Pearce, and John William Ward. The first heady era of the "American Studies Movement" took place in the shadow of their work.
Since the late 1970s, however, it has been the subject of devastating criticism. To have one’s teaching or research likened to myth-and-symbol is now to stand accused of serious errors. Among the first that leap to mind are those associated with American exceptionalism. Myth-and-symbol classics in general slight diversity and dissent in the U.S. as well as international relations. They slight women and people of color in particular, a bias with special sting given the subsequent strength of social-justice movements on college campuses. As Nina Baym has explained, myth-and-symbolists’ orthodox taste in source material and their propensity to highlight struggles for individuation may better bespeak the authors’ worries about their own "manhood" than anything else. Other critics lambaste the epistemology of the approach (e.g., the facile, conceptual leaps from text to writing, publishing, reading, thought, and action), its anachronisms (e.g., the projection of modern assessments of literary power onto prior periods), its conception of culture (idealist, homogeneous, autotelic), or its taste for irony and tortured platitude.
Nevertheless, despite their reputation as Cold-War accommodating, myth-and-symbol works emphasize national flaws. They find America’s myths unsustainable and its realities grim. But since the nation’s people -- with the exception of gifted artists and, presumably, their myth-and-symbol promoters -- are supposedly so governed by delusion, there is not much to be done beyond wringing hands. The lesson is often excruciatingly fatalistic and condescending. Hence -- when compared (also anachronistically) to "Post-Sixties" academia -- myth-and-symbol is remembered as "elitist" and "conservative." U.S. Americanists have subsequently demanded evermore "radical" remedies to these methodological flaws. What they mean by "more radical" is the subject of continuing dispute in the U.S. and mystery in other parts of the world.
Among the first orthodoxies to lose credibility were those privileging whole categories of source material. After the 1970s, as Pop Art helped discredit "mass-culture"/Frankfurt-School fogies, mass-marketed entertainment became fodder for the field. Ever since, U.S. Americanists have tended to consider items of "popular culture" -- best-selling novels, top-40 music, Hollywood film, TV, advertisements, amusement parks, snap shots, kitchen gadgets, and the like -- better indicators of cultural currents than the canonical literature whose "power" so impressed myth-and-symbolists. Waves of interpretive strategies reigning in departments of English subsequently made the rounds through popular culture by way of American Studies: structuralist, Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist, reader-response, post-structuralist, post-modern, and most recently "cultural studies."
Likewise, the sorts of documentary sources that early Americanists had shared with the two, then chic branches of U.S. history -- political and intellectual -- fell out of favor. Social records, particularly those pertaining to the history of women and other oppressed groups ("subalterns"), took their place. By the late 1980s, women’s history was the most common specialty in the field in the U.S. While myth-and-symbolists scored debating points against national leaders, their descendants unmasked brute injustice in domestic and intimate no less than civic affairs. They focused on social formations that privilege and resist the white, wealthy, heterosexual, and male.
In so improvising on its past, American Studies has flourished. In the 1990s, for example, the membership of the U.S. professional association (the ASA) soared. Credit for this growth mainly belongs to the recruitment of humanists and cultural historians new to American Studies. Some Americanists charge that many of the conceptual flaws of myth-and-symbol (e.g., its bookish bias and epistemological incoherence) remain or that U.S. Americanists are losing touch with the social or natural sciences and international norms. Some lament that, after so many years, the proportion of Americanists trained in and primarily committed to the field (vs. English or history) remains so small. But to resurrect questions of interdisciplinary method -- visions of a more clearly defined, distinct, and trans-disciplinary field -- still raise in the U.S. the old specter of methodological tyranny. Such are the gains and losses of the field’s liberty.
Bellah, Robert et al. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Rev. Ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Rites of Assent: Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of America. New York: Routledge, 1993.
Ceaser, James W. Reconstructing America: The Symbol of America in Modern Thought. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
FitzGerald, Frances. America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century. NY: Vintage Books, 1979.
Georgi-Findlay, Brigitte and Heinz Ickstadt, eds. America Seen from the Outside -- Topics, Models and Achievements in the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin, The Free University, 1990.
Graff, Gerald. Professing Literature: An Institutional History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Greene, Jack P. The Intellectual Construction of America: Exceptionalism and Identity from 1492 to 1800. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
Gunn, Giles. Thinking Across the American Grain: Ideology, Intellectuals and the New Pragmatism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Gutman, Huck. As Others Read Us: International Perspectives on American Literature. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 1991.
Hartshorne, Thomas L. The Distorted Image: Changing Conceptions of the American Character Since Turner. Cleveland, OH: Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1968.
Horwitz, Richard P., ed. Exporting America: Essays on American Studies Abroad. New York: Garland Publishing, 1993.
Kammen, Michael. Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture. New York: Random House, 1991.
Kockemans, Joseph J., ed. Interdisciplinarity and Higher Education. University Park, Pennsylvania State University, 1979.
Kuper, Adam. Culture: The Anthropologists’ Account. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Lipsitz, George. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.
Lubiano, Wahneema, ed. The House That Race Built: Black Americans, U.S. Terrain. New York: Pantheon, 1997.
Maddox, Lucy, ed. Locating American Studies: The Evolution of a Discipline. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Madsen, Deborah L. American Exceptionalism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press; Jackson: University Press of Mississippi;, 1998
Mary Turpie and Joseph Kwiat, eds. Studies in American Culture: Dominant Ideas and Images. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1960.
McGiffert, Michael, ed. The Character of Americans: A Book of Readings, Rev. Ed. Homewoood, IL: Dorsey Press, 1970.
Murphey, Murray G. and Luther Luedtke, eds. American Studies: An Annotated Bibliography of American Civilization of the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, 1990.
Pachter, Marc and Frances Wein, eds. Abroad in America: Visitors to the New Nation, 1776-1914. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley for the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1976.
Parrington, Vernon L. Main Currents in American Thought: An Interpretation of American Literature from the Beginnings to 1920. New York: Harcourt, 1927-1930.
Rothenbert, Paula S., ed. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study, 4th ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Shumway, David R. Creating American Civilization: A Genealogy of American Literature as an Academic Discipline. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Smith, Henry Nash. Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950.
Tate, Cecil F. The Search for a Method in American Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1973.
Walker, Robert H., ed. American Studies Abroad: Contributions in American Studies Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.
Wilkinson, Rupert. American Social Character: Modern Interpretations from the ‘40s to the Present. New York: Icon Editions, 1992.
Wilkinson, Rupert. The Pursuit of American Character. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.
Wise, Gene. American Historical Explanations: A Strategy for Grounded Inquiry, 2nd Ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1980.