Volume I, Issue 1 (Summer 2021)

Letter from the Editor

September 2, 2021

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Ampersand: An American Studies Journal. We were motivated to begin this journal as a conduit for graduate and professional students to showcase their work, to provide a sample of the directions American Studies is currently taking, and to connect with each other and build a community. Our mission is to foreground the work of graduate and early career scholars as we believe fields are propelled forward by scholars at the beginning phases of their careers. We wanted to provide a forum that highlighted the work they are doing, and provide a space for them to be experimental. We are proud that our journal is graduate student led and centred, and we hope you will continue to support us as we grow. 

For our first issue we chose the theme of “American Studies Now,” which we intended to be a snapshot of what American Studies is and can be, as experienced by graduate students working in and around our field. We are proud and delighted to have work from scholars all over the world, representing work from the fields of sociology, history, film studies, art history, literature, to name only a few. The quality of work submitted to us was beyond what we could ever have expected for a first issue, and we are so grateful to our wonderful contributors for entrusting us with their hard work and outstanding research. We hope you will enjoy reading their innovative, exciting, and skillful contributions to the field. 

In this issue our contributors grapple with new pedagogical approaches in American Studies that call for a disruption of whiteness in classrooms, offer analyses of immigration documents, record humorous and warm reflections on the topic of American religion (and leaving it), proffer book reviews, explore how the installation of public bathrooms in subway stations brought (or failed to bring) cosmopolitanism to Utah in the early twentieth century, and investigate how films continue to create and influence what it means or can mean to be “American.” 

Welcome to Ampersand, please enjoy our inaugural issue, join our community online, and send us your proposals for our next issue!




Volume I, Issue 1 (Summer 2021)


J. Seth Anderson, Essay: “Urban Reforms and the City Cesspool: The Failure of Salt Lake City’s Comfort Stations, 1913-1962”

Bailey Flynn, Essay: “Pain in Translation: Reclaiming the Illegible in US Form I-589″

Kaitlin Lake, Essay: “‘The greatest poem’?: embodying the dream of America in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life”

Megan Hermida Lu, Essay: “A Case for Amateur Travel Films: John Van Antwerp MacMurray”

Dr. Jessica S. Samuel, Essay: “Disrupting Whiteness: Jonin’ and the Fugitivity of Black Speech in American Public Schools”

Ravynn K. Stringfield, Essay: “Dreaming up a Digital Class for Magical Black Girls: A Reflection on the Place of Black Girls in American Studies Scholarship and Pedagogy

Book Reviews:

Genevieve (Genna) Kane, Book Review: A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek by Ari Kelman


Julia Carroll, Podcast: “Religious Disaffiliation: Can you ever really leave a religion?”