- Editor's Note
On November 16, 2012, American Studies Association President Matthew Frye Jacobson gave the presidential address at the ASA annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jacobson began his expansive address, "Where We Stand," by noting the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Amy Kaplan and Donald Pease's Cultures of United States Imperialism, using the moment as an occasion to offer the ASA members a brilliant and ambitious survey of the last forty years in both the lived experience of and the growing scholarship on U.S. empire. During the address, a continual loop of historical and present (1890-2012) images referencing U.S. imperialism played behind Jacobson, making for an arresting—and sobering—visual reminder of the ravages of empire and neoliberal capitalism. As Laura Briggs states in her response to the presidential address (also in this volume), Jacobson "has ably provided us a map of where we've been, and perhaps, where we need to go." In this issue of AQ, we have included Jacobson's presidential address along with some of the images from the actual event, as well as two excellent responses to the address by Briggs and Meg Wesling.
We also include three very different essays in this issue, each of which speak to the recent efforts we have made at AQ to engage interdisciplinarity. First, we have Laura Pulido and Manuel Pastor's essay, which is based in social science methodologies and focuses on the seven-county region of Southern California—home to the United States' largest concentration of Latinas/os —to explore how Latinas/os identify in terms of race. Pulido and Pastor use the American Community Survey (2008-10) to consider a range of variables, including spatial and temporal characteristics, to better understand Latina/o, and especially Mexican American, racial subjectivity. Then, looking to the nineteenth century, Wynne Walker Moskop, in "The Balcony and the Street," uses George Caleb Bingham's painting, The Verdict of the People (1854-55), as a lens through which to understand conflicting cultural understandings of gender identity, and positions the painting as a way to visualize women as political activists. The contrast between the balcony and the street in Bingham's painting, she points out, provides a visual map of tensions between politics and definitions of virtue, gendered tensions that continue to exist in political culture in the current moment. Our final essay in this issue is by Catherine [End Page vii] Stewart who examines the Lafargue Clinic, established in 1946 by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham as the first community outpatient "mental hygiene" clinic in Harlem. Drawing from Clyde Woods's concept of "blues epistemology," Stewart engages the clinic's innovative use of patient narratives as a way to show how these narratives help African American clients understand their encounters with racial discrimination as a systemic problem of American democracy.
We also feature an event review in this issue, where Taylor Black discusses Bob Dylan at the Hollywood Bowl. Our book reviews cover a wide range of topics, beginning with a retrospective look at George Sanchez' book Becoming Mexican American on its twentieth anniversary, and then moving to punk, cosmopolitanism, diaspora, and MP3s.