Interdisciplinary studies, ASA style

I wrote here about the American Studies Association (ASA), which recently voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. I hoped that Steve would chime in, and he has.

In my post, I noted that the ASA’s upcoming annual convention is devoted to the theme of “The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century.” (emphasis added) In his post, Steve pointed out that ASA has called for papers on the subject of “Early American Carnality.” ASA hopes to explore how “colonization involves bodies, altering how subjects experience and conceive of desire, hunger, touch, comfort, pleasure, and pain.” (emphasis added)

From the beginning, the ASA has been devoted to an “interdisciplinary” approach to American studies. As Steve says, this approach, though not without merit in theory, is a recipe for great mischief.

The common thread in the two topics noted above illustrates the kind of reductionist mischief to which leftists have put the “interdisciplinary study” of America — mischief that offers up a rather specialized meaning of “interdisciplinary.”

By the way, does anyone know whether Dartmouth College is an institutional member of the ASA? How about Eliot Spitzer?

NOTE: I changed the title to this post.


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