Writing the acknowledgments for a publication such as this one is a daunting task, particularly when the friendships and collaborations that have made it possible span many years and cover the production of two volumes, one of which is print and digital. We should begin, of course, by listing the names of our contributors. All of them have produced marvelous intellectual work, after enduring what must have seemed endless requests for revision. We thank them all for putting up with us, and many of them for putting up with us twice.

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; 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. We also want to thank the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts for its support of the first edition of Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Generous support for the development of the second edition and, especially, its 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.

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 has been equally central to its subsequent success and further development.

Eric Zinner deserves credit for looking at lists of words and names and seeing the idea not for one or two publications but for an entire enterprise. His keyword has to be branding. Thanks to Garbo, whose keyword was squirrel; to Miriam, whose keyword is skill; to Nina, whose keyword is mood ring; and to Ezra, whose keyword is David Bowie. 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.


We dedicate this edition of Keywords to the memory of three important scholars who worked in American studies and cultural studies, all of whom passed away in the months before this publication went to press. Rosemary Marangoly George’s contributions to postcolonial studies, especially in The Politics of Home and Burning Down the House, were the reason we asked her to write on domesticity; we mourn her passing in October 2013. The ideas that José Esteban Muñoz developed in Disidentifications and Cruising Utopia, along with his larger body of work in performance studies and queer theory, reverberate through many of the essays in this volume, even though he could not complete the essay he was working on when he passed away in late 2013. And one of the giants of cultural studies, Stuart Hall, died in early February 2014. His influence on this publication is a testament to the ongoing power of his scholarship. We hope that Keywords for American Cultural Studies carries on the intellectual tradition of these three scholars.