Their America Introduction

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Their America Introduction

Post by Admin on Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:02 pm

Their America has launched!

Visit us at

ORIGINAL PITCH (when Their America was a book project):

Their America
A work of sheer discovery, exploring a country no less strange and uncharted than America itself once was: their America, the nation and peoples of the United States as they exist in the hearts and minds of others, from the dreams of pre-Columbian Europe to the nightmares of the present day Middle East.
     America's other self.
     Giving voice to the iconic expressions, in words and pictures, which define America (both pro and con) for non-Americans, by non-Americans; balanced and revealing more in the manner of collage than argument, embracing contrasts and contradictions, and seeking the felt truths that often shape history more--and more surprisingly--than discursive thought.
     Predicated on and appealing to America at its best. One of its central aims is to answer--or provide materials for an answer to--what is, for many in America, one of the most critical questions of our time, not just for America but for the world: How is it that a nation so distinguished for its generosity, and so fundamentally well-intentioned, could be so disliked and disesteemed in our time?
    Though ultimately governed by the logic of collage, divided into three main sections:
I) Their America up to WWII (including the reconstruction of Germany and Japan)
II) Their America from then to now
III) Their America now--further divided into five broad 'theatres' in which the drama of that thought country is being played out: the non-American Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

    Two classes of entries, all from primary sources:
i) 'naked' texts (aphorisms, anecdotes, song lyrics, etc.) and graphics (cartoons,
posters, photographs, artifacts, etc.) deployed collage-style in and around the main
textual and graphic entries, which will be introduced;
ii) introduced texts ( fiction, poetry, drama; speeches, interviews, essays, broadcasts,
etc.) and graphics (photo-essays, cartoons, books, etc.), some of which, especially in
the book's third section, will be sizeable and/or un-excerpted.
    Two essential criteria governing the selection of the main, introduced entries:

a) influential: shaping the essential topography of Their America (this to ensure enduring relevance);
b) representative: speaking for an important constituency within Their America (this to avoid mere demagogic fanaticism).
    These met, two further criteria governing the selection of 'voices', given that the book targets the broadest possible audience, from schoolchildren to legislators, from New York to Baghdad:
c) name recognition: iconic statement(s) on America by figures such as Lenin, Churchill, Castro and Mandela; seminal depictions of America in writers like Donne, Dickens, Edwidge Dandicat and Bernard-Henri Lévy;
d) revelation of the unknown but influential: from shadowy but compelling figures such as François Furet and José  Marti, to sheer revelations such as Sayed Qutb and Karl May.
    As the only global and synoptic primary source-book for Their America, un-polemical,
informative and consistently provocative, the work would seemingly belong on every school desk and coffee table not merely in America, whose ignorance of its other self can only be harmful, but, in translation, in the schools and homes of any people given voice by the book, both to situate their own voice in the world's colloquy on America and to deepen and nuance their understanding of America by means of that situation.
    Simply put, Their America seems a needed read in a needful time.



This ambitious digital humanities project involves the creation of a large website devoted to iconic expressions (speeches, essays, political cartoons, fiction, news stories, etc.) about America by non-Americans. The role of the site will be to organize these materials in a convenient, searchable form, and to host a series of discussion forums related to them. 

Our major objective is to create a global, synoptic site for Their America, an unpolemical, informative, and provocative resource not just for ‘American Studies’ scholars around the world, but for anyone interested in studying and debating the international reputation of the United States. The site would seek, insofar as possible, to be a work of sheer discovery, exploring a country no less strange and uncharted than America itself once was: their America, the nation and peoples of the United States as they exist in the hearts and minds of others.

Last edited by Admin on Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:48 pm; edited 3 times in total


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