A note to the American Studies Community
A note to the American Studies Community

American Studies Department Weekly Newsletter: Special Edition 

Dear American Studies Community,

I hope this finds everyone as safe and healthy as possible.

As I write, we are entering our second week of online-only courses. American Studies faculty have been working hard to adapt their material to an online format and to mitigate student concerns and challenges. Some faculty are interacting asynchronously, while others are using various digital platforms to meet virtually with their classes. I am impressed by the ways faculty and graduate teaching assistants have adapted despite radical changes in their own work environments!

Our tremendous students have been great partners during this transition. I speak for all of our faculty when I say that we appreciate that so many students are committed to making the best of a difficult situation.  

To communicate with our majors and minors, we have set up a departmental Slack channel. We also have an Instagram account where members of our community are reflecting on this moment. Check us out!

Below, you’ll find some “Coronavirus Field Notes” from faculty. I hope you will find these diverting! Please continue to share your good news, and don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have ideas or feedback to share:  gwald@gwu.edu.

Best wishes,

Faculty "Coronavirus Field Notes"

Top left: Prof. Melani McAlister is attempting to work at home with a cat who is having none of it.
Top middle: Prof. Libby Anker's current workspace. When she's not watching Tiger Kings, she'sreading some topical American Studies books: Necropolitics by Achille Mbembe and Revolutionary Love by Michael Lerner.
Top right: A photo from a recent Quarantine walk Prof. Amber Musser took in NYC. 
Middle left: a photo of a meal Prof. Elaine Peña's hosts, Rakan and Fadia, left outside her door. Prof. Peña feels fortunate that they are rooting for her and preparing her healing foods. It’s hard enough to be alone when sick and in quarantine and extra hard without a kitchen. They are amazing. 
Middle: These are Pastelles — meat filled hand pies.  Its a recipe from island of Rhodes imported by the Sephardic Jews of Montgomery, Alabama. Prof. Jamie Cohen-Cole learned how to make these from his grandfather, Nace. Nace's father was a founder of the community in Montgomery.  
Middle right: Ron, Bruno, and Prof. Dara Orenstein are alternating between sports sagas and '70s / '80s classics for Movie Night. (Alas, no zombies.) Their most recent selection was Reds (1981), a movie Dara remembers sobbing over when she was around Bruno's age (6th grade). Bruno loved it! More for the soap opera between Warren Beatty's character and Diane Keaton's character, but, still. Now he has some vague appreciation of what it means to note that the IWW has lately regrouped to battle the Empire of Starbucks!
Bottom left: Prof. Tom Guglielmo's kids write letters each morning to family and friends. This was Miya's from last Friday, transcribed by her mom. 
Bottom middle: Prof. Nicole Ivy is finding comfort in the collective forms of being together on social media. The macabre onomatopoeia of the @EndlessScreaming Twitter account, a bot with Edvard Munch as an avatar, expresses how I feel. The mutual aid work highlighted by @PrisonCulture offers a place to put that angst.
Bottom right: Prof. David Bjelajac's longtime partner (39 years)/ spouse (10 years), Lou Dellaguzzo, is launching his first novel, Always There by Leaving. It's not a good time to do a book launch, especially for small independent publishers like Beautiful Dreamer Press. However, for us, it's still cause for celebration and it mitigates our anxiety about everything else. Here's a link to The Publishing Triangle: the association of LGBTQ people in publishing. 
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