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American Literature


It is not without reason that we are called the Tsukuba School of American Literature (c2005, Koji Oi).

What constitutes knowledge? How is it shaped and produced? How is it communicated and received? Those are some of the questions we have been working on since 1999. Literature is a form of knowledge sharing with science, philosophy, religion, and the arts common epistemological contexts. Texts are examined within dynamic coordinates, crisscrossing the diachronic history of knowledge/science and the synchronic gframeworkh of knowledge.

gAmericah comes to bear a special import in this picture. Its gdiscoveryh (1492) and gplantationh (early 17th century) span the period from the gQuantification Revolutionsh (Alfred W. Crosby) in the late Middle Ages to the gScientific Revolutionsh (Steven Shapin et al.) in the 17th-century. Its political independence (1776), gfoundingh and cultural independence in the first half of the 19th century have their counterpart in the Industrial Revolution and the economic, social, and cultural changes it generated (Dorinda Outram et al.). gScience,h as we know it today, came into existence only in the second transition period, in 1830s, when the term gscientisth was invented (thus creating the rent between the gtwo culturesh, i.e., the sciences vs. the humanities).

The third transition, which is now underway in the United States, works to shake the idea of gAmerica.h The Internet and computers do not simply convey knowledge instantly and ubiquitously. They also transform our knowledge perception from three-dimensional books to two-dimensional screens, while deconstructing and intensifying the opposition between local and global. The Information Revolution involves changes in our epistemological framework.

By reexamining texts written in and about America from this perspective, we question cliches such as ethnicity, gender, and stereotyped disciplinary limits (gscienceh vs. gliteratureh); we try to trace our past, to situate our present and to project our future at the beginning of the 21st century; and we construct a map of knowledge both at the interdisciplinary and international level.

Some of our papers have been collected in: American Literature and Technology (2002), In Context (2003), Domain of Knowledge (2007). Our biennially-published academic journal Review of American Literature featured special issues on words with a variety of implications: gNatureh (2000), gHistoryh (2002), gInstrumentsh (2004) and gMapsh (2007). For further details, see our homepage at the American Literature Society of the University of Tsukuba (ALSUT).


Andree LAFONTAINE Film Theory and Cultural Studies