My Life in American Studies – Memories and Expectations
Keywords:American studies, memories
I am now in that phase of life when old people like me tend to reminisce and give account. Since my long academic life was committed to American Studies, I wondered how this came about, and although I am aware of the inevitable mix between coincidence and symbolic self-construction, I believe that my career was rooted in certain moments of experience: a seminar on Melville, the physical exposure to “America,” and the significance America had for me from childhood on. I also believe that a temperamental affinity to an idea of democracy built on communication led me to embrace the democratic belief that is at the core of American Studies. At the same time, my own process of disillusionment ran parallel to the critical redefinition of American Studies that has characterized the development of the field during the last forty years or so. In what follows, I have tried to reflect on my original enthusiasm, and on where I stand now, in an effort to be realistic and optimistic at the same time.
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