Academic journal article Journal of American & Comparative Cultures

Predecessors: Intellectual Lineage's in American Studies

Academic journal article Journal of American & Comparative Cultures

Predecessors: Intellectual Lineage's in American Studies

Article excerpt

Predecessors: Intellectual Lineage's in American Studies. Rob Kroes. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1999.407 pp. $68.

In September 1998-the fiftieth anniversary of the America Institute at the University of Amsterdam, a group of leading European scholars met to take stock of where American Studies has been, where it was heading, and how, in the new Millennium we judge America's place in the new era of globalization, economically, politically, and culturally.

A big order, this: yet it has been met with considerable success. One reason is the skillful editorship of Rob Kroes, who has emerged as one of the major Americanists in Europe.

To narrow the focus, Participants were asked to place themselves in terms of intellectual lineages. If, as John Dewey pointed out, "Knowledge ... is originated by means of association and communication," does this help us to understand the current American Studies movement?

Reading these various essays on this side of the Atlantic, the answer would seem to be "Yes." The consensus is that-despite some difficulties and disagreements-"America" has been a meaningful construct in various ways and setting, and continues to be one as we enter the twenty-first century. The lines of communication are open. …

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