This website invites you to revise, extend, and add to the research conversations contained in Keywords for American Cultural Studies.
As co-editors of Keywords for American Cultural Studies, we have several reasons for developing this website. As we stress in our introduction to the book, we understand keyword projects not only as mapping existing fields of knowledge, but also as generating future work. The trouble with books is that they tend to be read as summaries of knowledge made by their authors, not as provocations to further research and reflection. The advantage of interactive websites like this one is that they can house, archive, and inspire new inquiries and collaborations.
This emphasis on the importance of ongoing reflection and collaboration is the reason Raymond Williams included blank pages at the back of his Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, the earlier book that prompted us to create our volume. Williams thought of those blank pages as a sign to readers that the inquiry contained in his book remained open. We think of this website as a technologically updated version of those pages. As new interactive technologies emerge, we have no doubt that over time our gesture will seem as antiquated as Williams’s does today. But for now we invite you to click, explore, revise, and enjoy.
The design and administration of this website is a result of a partnership between New York University Press and the University of Washington’s Simpson Center for the Humanities. In addition to acknowledging both of those organizations for their support, we also want to thank the many individuals who have worked with us as we have muddled through the conceptualization and reconceptualization, the design and redesign, of this project and site.
At NYU Press, we particularly want to thank Brett Hopp, Fred Nachbaur, Shilpi Suneja, and Eric Zinner. At the Simpson Center, we want to thank Miriam Bartha, Peter Leonard, Melissa Van Wingen, Linda Wagner, and Kathy Woodward. Finally, we want to thank Deborah Kimmey for signing on as the Project Coordinator.
We all look forward to reading and hearing about the results of your inquiries.
—Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler