The War and Peace Studies Caucus identifies the analysis of violence and conflict as a primary field of study within American studies scholarship and provides a dedicated space in which scholars interested in exploring how these issues intersect with the critical questions central to the study of American culture can share ideas, network, and collaborate to generate new directions for research and teaching. Recent scholarship that interrogates questions of transnationalism, imperialism, and borderlands studies, as well as that which seeks to historicize and explore the significance in American culture of the "War on Terror" and the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have led to much excellent work that critically engages these issues. However, scholars working on these issues often remain separated because their alignment with particular subfields and historical periods prohibits collaboration with scholars working on similar issues in other fields or with regard to other historical moments.
The War and Peace Studies Caucus seeks to bridge this gap by encouraging collaboration across subfields and historical periods to develop new directions for teaching and research regarding how issues of violence and conflict intersect with issues ranging from notions of patriotism and nationalism to the role of technology and religion in American life. We are interested in interrogating specific historical incidents, theoretical questions about violence and conflict, the relationship between the study of war and peace and other subfields in American studies, and all other issues that allow us to critically interrogate both issues of war and peace and the larger question of the location of these issues within the American studies project.
We are particularly interested in encouraging partnerships that will lead to increased consideration of how the methodological and theoretical approaches central to the study of war and peace are useful in producing new understandings of those topics, and, concurrently, how examining those intersections will lead to innovative understandings of the historical and contemporary significance of war and peace in American culture.
The War and Peace Studies Caucus began as a discussion after the 2006 American Studies Association annual meeting when Jay Mechling, David Kieran, and Kristin Ann Haas and others grew concerned with ensuring that there is more attention paid to issues of War and Peace within the American studies community and that there was a space in which folks who share interests in these issues can network and discuss. The Caucus was officially launched in 2009.