Making Context Matter: American Studies and the Connecting Imagination
AbstractThis article provides a pedagogical primer on how we construct context in American Studies. It argues that the contemporary political moment has provided the field of American Studies with an important opportunity to share its understanding of the "connecting imagination" and the importance of context. The essay outlines the strategies we use to analyze a cultural text in context, from close reading to audience reception to situating the text in a broader network of related discourses to making an argument about cultural work.
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