Academic journal American Quarterly to be housed at Notre Dame, led by American studies faculty

Author: Mary Kinney

The academic journal American Quarterly will call the University of Notre Dame home, starting this summer.

The journal, which has been at the forefront of American studies research and discourse, will be led by Jason Ruiz, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Studies. 

“For us to host AQ, it does feel like we are really getting our name out there and showing our field that we're a force to be reckoned with,” Ruiz said. “We're producing top-notch scholarship as a faculty, and the journal will be a platform for us to publish similarly quality work.”

The publication was housed at the University of Hawaii for the last decade. It was led by editor-in-chief and professor Mari Yoshihara, who guided the journal in new directions, including a particular focus on transpacific American studies.

In coming to Notre Dame, Ruiz plans to maintain AQ’s high standards and also hopes the new editorial team — comprised of associate editors and Notre Dame faculty Perin Gürel and Korey Garibaldi, as well as Benjamin Balthaser of Indiana University South Bend — will consider and highlight different points of scholarship in the American studies field, particularly honing in on subjects pertaining to the Midwest and its misconceptions.

AQ was founded at the University of Minnesota in 1949, but has not been housed in the Midwest since. Ruiz believes this is an opportune time to reexamine the region's meaning to the U.S. and the world.

“We will have an eye toward publishing work that tries to reconsider this part of the country as something other than flyover country,” Ruiz said. “We want to focus on the global Midwest and the idea that the region is not in an isolated place, but has rich important global connections.”

With faculty that specialize in a wide variety of diverse studies, Ruiz believes his editorial board and department will help the journal continue to thrive and encourage forward-thinking interdisciplinary research.

“It’s so important to have a strong editorial team because they're making some of the very first important decisions that really shape the journal,” he said. “Because they — and we, collectively — will be deciding what our focus is and what the journal absolutely has to cover to represent this diverse tapestry that is American studies.”

American Quarterly
The academic journal American Quarterly has been at the forefront of American studies research and discourse.

Notre Dame now has the largest undergraduate American studies program in the world, and the department was unanimously selected to house AQ by a board through a rigorous decision-making process. Ruiz believes the AQ board considered the state of academia and that the American studies department at a leading research university is on the precipice of something great.

“In a world in which public universities are contracting in the humanities in so many ways, Notre Dame takes the humanities very seriously and will put the resources and the effort into it, and I think that really impressed the board,” he said.

The weight of taking on a well-respected publication has not been lost on Ruiz. But, in addition to support from the College of Arts & Letters, Ruiz will have two postdoc fellows who will help manage the workload and enhance the department’s intellectual vibrance. And, with that support, he believes they are equipped to succeed.

“It is a seriously challenging thing to consider how we develop new systems that work for us but honor the rigor that Hawaii has really instilled into the journal over the past 10 years,” he said. “By building up a staff and building up a community of people to work together on this, thanks to support from the dean’s office and the University, it’s an exciting way to meet that challenge.”

Originally published by Mary Kinney at on April 02, 2024.