A project that spans fourteen years accrues a lot of debts. As we did in previous editions, we want to start out by thanking all of our contributors. We rushed them, then we delayed, then we rushed again, and brought new contributors on board with very little lead time. The intellectual and pedagogical work this volume does is due to their brilliance, but also to their patience with us as we requested revision after revision. Whether you joined the volume in the month before it was completed or have been in it since the 2007 first edition, we thank you.
The idea for this publication emerged, developed, and was tested through interactions with a series of collaborators, interlocutors, and audiences, including the American Cultures workshop at the University of Chicago; the Americanist Workshop at the University of Notre Dame; the Columbia American Studies Seminar; the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington; the Clinton Institute at University College Dublin; the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College; the Cultural Studies Now Conference at the University of East London; the Mobility Shifts Learning Summit at the New School for Social Research; the Graduate Center at the City University of New York; Evergreen State College; St. John’s University; the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee; Yale University; the University of Ljubljana; and the annual conferences of the American Studies Association, the Cultural Studies Association, and the Modern Language Association, among others.
Thanks to everyone who participated in and attended those events and specifically to Carla Peterson and Sandy Zagarell for sharing their concept early on for a keywords conference panel, to Chandan Reddy and Nikhil Singh for offering advice at various points along the way, and to Kathy Woodward for being a catalyst for the digital aspects of the publication. Generous support for the development of the second and third editions and, especially, their digital components was provided by the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington and by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Instructional Technology and Academic Computing, the Office of Research, and the Deans of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University. Thanks also to the University of Washington Whiteley Center for its support of the editing of the third edition through a summer fellowship.
One thing those institutions funded was the labor of a series of brilliant and efficient graduate students. Brooke Cameron was absolutely central to the production of the first edition, working tirelessly to correspond with contributors, to maintain files on all of the essays, to check and recheck bibliographical citations, and to generate an increasingly baroque spreadsheet of deadlines, revisions, and addresses. Liz Porter and then Julia Cosacchi played similar roles in the second edition, tracking a dizzying array of citations across more than ninety essays and putting them in their proper places. Deborah Kimmey was critical to the launch of the first iteration of the Keywords website, including the management of the Keywords Collaboratory at the University of Washington. It would not have happened without her. Elizabeth Cornell followed ably in Deborah’s place when the Collaboratory moved from the University of Washington to Fordham University and was equally central to its subsequent success and further development. In addition, Jonathan Greenberg and Furqan Sayeed deserve thanks for their work on the Keywords web site.
Speaking of students, one of the reasons we produced Keywords in the first place, and even more so the reason we keep updating it, is because we wanted it to be useful in classrooms and needed it for our own courses. For more than a decade now, a series of lively, engaging undergraduates in Fordham’s American Studies program and both undergraduates and grad students in the English department have tested out both editions of the volume, as well as individual keyword essays, sometimes in draft form. Of course, Keywords is widely taught beyond our own institutions. We hope it is rewarding and useful for all students and their instructors. And we thank everyone who has sent us syllabi, sample assignments, and other materials over the years. You make Keywords generative and productive.
Eric Zinner deserves credit for looking at lists of words and names and seeing the idea not for one or two publications but for a growing series. Thanks to Nina for putting aside the Weltchroniken long enough to let Glenn travel for keywords to faraway places like Slovenia and San Juan Island, and to Ezra for providing a great piano soundtrack for the editing process. Thanks to Miriam, whose keyword is still skill, though accompanied by balance, reciprocity, and wisdom, and to Sputnik, whose keyword is unspoken. Thanks, finally, to our readers and users, past and future, who treat the Keywords for American Cultural Studies not as summative of work completed but as generative of future projects. You are the reason we undertook it.