Lubin, Alex. “American Studies, the Middle East, and the Question of Palestine.” American Quarterly 68.1 (2016): 1-21.
This essay examines the intellectual history of American studies programs and departments in the Middle East, especially the relationship of these programs to US State Department efforts at cultural diplomacy or “soft power” after the Cold War. Through this examination, the essay theorizes the relationship of transnational American studies scholarship in the Middle East to the internationalization of the field. In their efforts to understand the United States, American studies programs in the Middle East have foregrounded the question of Palestine in ways that make these programs distinct from US-based American studies programs that still often regard Palestine as “America’s last taboo.” In their insistence on centering the question of Palestine within their vision of American studies, American studies programs in the Middle East demonstrate the unruly consequences of the internationalization of the discipline in political geographies where American primacy and exceptionalism are contested.