- Editor’s Note
It is my great pleasure to deliver the first issue of American Quarterly under the editorship of the new editorial team centered at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The journal’s editorial office officially moved from the University of Southern California to Hawai‘i in July 2014. I would like to acknowledge the generous labor on the part of both the California and Hawai‘i editorial teams before and after the official transition. This March 2015 issue includes essays that were reviewed and selected by the California team and those that went through the new editorial process established by the Hawai‘i team that began working long before the summer of 2014. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone on the California editorial team who, under the visionary leadership of Marita Sturken, Curtis Marez, and Sarah Banet-Weiser, has taken American Quarterly in new, exciting directions and advanced the journal’s role as a venue for interdisciplinary inquiry into American experiences.
On behalf of the Hawai‘i-based editorial team, I outline below our intellectual vision for American Quarterly and the concrete ways in which we have begun to realize our goals.
To those on the continental United States and other parts of the globe, Hawai‘i may not appear to be the most natural center for American studies. Yet we believe that precisely because of our geographic location, history, and lived experience on the islands—that include a vibrant Indigenous history and community, colonization and illegal annexation, contested statehood, warfare and militarization, and tourist-oriented development—we bring perspectives and voices of critical importance to the field. We do not take “America” as a given; we are always cognizant of its many meanings and the porousness of its boundaries. We are attentive to the importance of grounded epistemology and situated knowledge in understanding histories, places, and people. While the “Pacific Rim” discourse and the myth of Hawai‘i as a laboratory of utopian multiculturalism have been deployed for political and economic agendas by entities on both sides of the Pacific, we are also witness to Indigenous and local resistance, regional solidarity and transnational alliances, and dynamic cultural practices that engage, challenge, or ignore “America.” We believe that our expertise, vision, and standpoint shaped by this knowledge bring a critical edge to the field by resituating and reframing “America” and by incorporating Indigenous, transnational, and comparative perspectives even more rigorously than has been done in recent decades. [End Page v]
The composition of our editorial team reflects our vision of American studies. In addition to our Hawai‘i-based knowledge, we also take pride in our institutional ties and scholarly networks in the Pacific, Asia, and Oceania as we aspire to further advance the field’s turn to the Pacific that began with American Quarterly’s move to California a decade ago. So as to fully realize transnational scholarly dialogues and practice, we have established a mechanism whereby scholars from and in the Pacific and Asia play central roles in the journal’s editorial process. Our editorial team includes a number of scholars—including myself—who were raised and educated outside the United States and speak, read, and write in non-English languages. In addition to Hawai‘i-based scholars, our editorial team includes an associate editor in South Korea; our Board of Managing Editors includes members based in Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. The dynamic discussions we have had in our editorial board meetings so far have already demonstrated the fresh perspectives and stimulating ideas enabled by this transnational collaboration, and I expect that this will have a significant impact on the long-term future of the journal and the field.
While our Hawai‘i, Pacific, and Asia–centered expertise is our unique strength, our vision for the field goes far beyond the region. We are committed to soliciting, selecting, and publishing the best scholarship in all areas of American studies, both traditional and emergent. Our ability to represent a spectrum of constituencies within the field is reflected in the comprehensive and diverse expertise of our entire editorial team and collaborators, including the Board of Advisory Editors and many...