The Society of Americanists announces the release of a new issue of New Errands: The Undergraduate Journal of American Studies (volume 5, issue 2, Spring 2018), available for download as an open-access publication,  produced by our partner organizations, the Eastern American Studies Association. Click here for the link.


Looking forward to 2018!

We want to wish all our followers a wonderful new year and happy holidays. Thank you all for your support for our world-wide coalition of scholars.  Look for exciting news in 2018 for our inaugural publication and organizational developments!

Specter Fellowships

Arlen Specter Center for Public Service Research Fellowship Announcement: Home


In 2017-18, the Arlen Specter Center will offer two competitive research fellowships for the purpose of aiding a scholar in the pursuit of study and research in an area supported by the Arlen Specter Collection, such as:

  • Supreme court nominee confirmations
  • LGBTQ rights- See materials from Specter’s time as Philadelphia’s District Attorney
  • Middle East diplomacy
  • Cuban-American relations
  • Scientific/medical research funding- including stem-cell research
  • Criminal justice/hate crimes
  • Clinton impeachment
  • Philadelphia regional developments and initiatives (Constitution Center opening; Naval Base closure)

The fellow will use the Arlen Specter Collection at the University of Pittsburgh and Jefferson University    (East Falls Campus).[1]  The Collection contains Specter’s extensive papers, audiovisuals, photographs and memorabilia documenting his 30-year Senatorial career.  The research must result in a publication which furthers knowledge and understanding of a legislative, historical, or policy issue.  It is expected that at least a portion of the research and publication needs to originate from the Arlen Specter Collection.

Eligible Applicants

The intent of the award is to increase awareness of the late Senator’s work and legacy.

Fellowships may be awarded to a graduate student currently enrolled in an academic program or to a post-graduate scholar who will conduct research on a topic consistent with the legacy of the late Senator.  Scholars of or graduate students studying history, political science, or related fields are encouraged to apply.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Fellows will be awarded a $5,000 taxable fellowship, which will cover all travel and research expenses.  This is a two-semester fellowship.*

Jefferson University faculty and/or graduate students are eligible to apply, if their research is directly tied to the fellowship priority areas.  Course releases do not accompany this fellowship.

To be considered, applicants must have a research plan that makes use of the extensive Specter Collection.  The final deliverable must be a scholarly publication such as a white paper, article, book chapter, book, doctoral dissertation, or master’s thesis based on this research plan.

Application Materials

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Unabridged CV or resume
  • Research plan (3-pages maximum) including the statement of importance to the discipline, the intended audience, and expected outcome, including proposed timing for the research plan, and the anticipated publication format: Master’s thesis, PhD dissertation, journal article, book or book chapter, or white paper.
  • One letter of reference from someone familiar with the applicant’s research plan.
  • Statement of importance of the Specter Archives to the research project
    • Feel free to consult with Specter archivist, Ashley Taylor, for details on the content of the archive:
  • Budget and Budget Narrative describing the research expenses that the fellowship will support.

Submit your complete application as a single pdf to: by October 31, 2017. Awardees will be notified during the first week of December, 2017.

Fellowship requirements: 

In return for accepting the fellowship, the fellow will produce the following deliverables:

  • Completed publication, as described in the application.
    • At minimum, a publication-ready draft must be submitted to the Specter Center Coordinator by January 15, 2019.
    • Recipients must appropriately credit the Specter Research Fellowship in the preface and/or footnotes of all work produced with this funding.
  • Two on-campus presentations:
    • Roxboro House Roundtable session for undergraduate and graduate students on the topic of their fellowship-by April 30, 2018
    • Research presentation at a Specter Center Knowledge Exchange for faculty, staff and students about the research activity- by the end of the Fall, 2018 semester.
  • A copy of the published work for the University’s archives.

Arlen Specter websites: 

Relevant books:

Life among the cannibals: a political career, a Tea Party uprising, and the end of governing as we know it – by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles 2012

Passion for truth: from finding JFK’s single bullet to questioning Anita Hill to impeaching Clinton –  by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles, 2000

Arlen Specter:  An Oral History – by Lockman, Brian; Francine Schertzer, 2017                                                         See:

For further information, contact:

  • Karen Albert, Specter Center Coordinator: phone:    215-951-2847; email:
  • Evan Laine, Specter Center Faculty Director: phone: 609-471-3898; email:

*Half of the award will be paid at the start of research with the remainder awarded upon completion of the fellowship requirements.

[1] The materials may be viewed in Pittsburgh, or shipped to Philadelphia.

In Memoriam: Americanist Maurice Gonnaud

In Memoriam Maurice Gonnaud

Maurice GONNAUD, who presided over the destinies of the French Association for American Studies between 1973 and 1980, became the third president of European Association for American Studies, after A.N.J den Hollander and Harry C. Allen. From 1980 to 1984, he worked for our common good along with vice-president Sergio Perosa, secretary Hans Bungert and treasurer Rob Kroes. He died on August 16, 2017. He was 92.
A highly principled scholar and citizen, a man of conviction, culture, measure and rectitude, generous with his time and dedicated to the joint cause of intellectual pursuit and European cooperation, he had studied classics before he turned to English at the end of the war, a legacy that shone through in his written prose and oral delivery, in his most urbane manners.
Begun while he taught at Bryn Mawr, his intellectual biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a lifelong concern, was defended by Maurice in 1964 but republished only in 1987 (Individu et société dans l’oeuvre de Ralph Waldo Emerson : essai de biographie spirituelle, Paris: Didier, 539 p.
) and only came out in translation, to great acclaim, in 2014 ( An Uneasy Solitude: 
Individual and Society in the Work of Ralph Waldo Emerson
, Princeton Legacy Library), a belated but much deserved homage to this aging scholar. In it, he tried to come to terms with the sense of puzzlement he felt at first reading English Traits, to account for the strange “mixture of historical frescoes and crudely personal intrusions, instantaneous observations and waves of references and quotations”, to understand an “incoherent alliance” of “peaceable egotism” and freshness that challenged his own “critical categories”. Stating in hindsight one of his constant preoccupations, Maurice wrote in 2004 that what he most appreciated while doing this work was the necessity he thus faced “to unlearn a number of thought mechanisms long imprinted in [himself]” (Special issue of Revue Française d’Etudes Américaines, n° 100, 2004).
Indeed, such an attitude was probably the main reason for which, in all the functions he scrupulously fulfilled while never derogating from his own moral principles, he elicited such trust and commanded such respect. His curiosity, desire to learn from others and ability to listen never left him.
A subtle and learned analyst of nineteenth-century American literature (he also notably co-authored, with Jean Béranger, La Littérature américaine
jusqu’en 1865, Paris : Armand Colin, 1974, and published numerous articles on that period), he had begun his career at the University of Dijon (1953-1959) and  been a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1959-1961). He was elected Full Professor at the University of Lumière-Lyon II in 1961, a position he held till his retirement in 1986, after a year as Visiting Professor at Harvard in 1985, where he gave a lecture (“Democratic aesthetics”) that became the basis for his latest contribution to the field, published in Transatlantica (
Our friendship began nearly 40 years ago, while we worked daily together for the better part of two years, organizing the 1982 Paris EAAS conference, not without a host of difficulties, as neither Maurice nor I taught at a Parisian university at the time. After he retired and we no longer met on professional grounds, we often corresponded and I tried, until last year, to go and see him in Ecully (near Lyon), where he lived, as often as I could. I will never forget the warm hug and encouragement he gave me in 2004 when I succeeded Josef Jarab as President of EAAS, nor the delightful welcome Mrs Gonnaud and he gave their visitors.
Only two weeks ago, I spoke to them on the phone. Maurice had just sent to the press a couple of well-weighed, principled letters dealing with current events. He sometimes had trouble standing, but still could take a stand. Not much white hair on his head ; none on his mind.
Having known him was a privilege and a joy.

Marc Chénetier

Become an editor with SOAR: The Society of Americanists Review!

SOAR: The Society of Americanists Review is currently seeking to fill a variety of editorial positions as the journal begins operations in the 2017-2018 academic year. These positions include:

• Two senior editors
• Two associate editors
• One features editor
• One book and media review editor

Interested candidates should send a letter of interest describing a strategic vision for their editorial term and current CV to

SOAR is seeking submissions as it begins publication in 2017!

SOAR: The Society of Americanists Review is currently seeking to develop a pipeline of high-quality submissions for our upcoming volumes. Submissions are encouraged on all topics and methods in the cultural study of the United States. Special volume, special section or feature, and review proposals are also welcome.

The journal publishes work in a variety of formats, including research articles; forum, discussion, memorial, and state-of-the-field essays; dialogues and interviews; reports on programs, organizations, and pedagogy; as well as book, exhibit, and media reviews. Multimedia content is encouraged and can be accommodated at the discretion of the editors. Submissions undergo a rigorous multi-tiered peer review process which includes the journal’s editorial staff, advisory board members, and external reviewers.

For further information about the journal and its submission process, visit SOAR’s website at: