The idea for this blog came about rather inauspiciously. We were in Dallas for a conference about the American South when, walking around the dimly-lit book hall between sessions, and fuelled by the mixture of exhaustion and euphoria that a good conference engenders, we made plans. Unlike most of the grand plans concocted then—and since—this idea stuck.
As we planned that day in Dallas, we reflected on how crucial ANZASA had been in helping us to find our scholarly community in Australia. We had met at the biennial conference earlier that year. As postgraduates, the ANZASA conference was not only a space in which to present our research. It was also an opportunity to engage with a group of scholars, at all stages of their career, who were producing exciting and brilliant work. We saw a gap between this thriving community of scholars and its digital presence. Meeting scholars internationally, we found that many were unaware just how much research is done across the Asia-Pacific in the fields of American literature, history, culture, and politics. Similarly, we felt the need to create a space for scholars within ANZASA (outside of the biennial conference) to promote their own research and forge collaborative and constructive relationships with fellow researchers.
This year we are attempting to create that space.
First—with the support of Tim Minchin and the executive, and with the invaluable assistance of Marama Whyte (our indefatigable website builder)—we set about creating a new homepage for the association. This new website launched a few months ago. It is an easy-to-navigate space with information about the organisation, all future conferences, and Australasian Journal of American Studies.
Second, we turned our attention to creating an official association blog. We thought deeply about the kind of online community we wanted to create. We called on members to contribute articles on topics ranging from career advice to their latest research. We once again enlisted Marama’s help to build a website. And today we are launching ANZASA Online, the official blog of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association. We hope that this blog will become a space for Americanists to share their research interests, their thoughts on contemporary events, their advice—in short, we hope this blog will become a new community space for Americanists in the Southern hemisphere.
It is designed for both association members and non-members alike and we welcome contributions from all scholars and teachers who are engaged in American studies broadly. We have been absolutely thrilled with the quality of contributions thus far – many of which are scheduled to appear on the blog in the coming weeks and months. We hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as we have, and we encourage all members to contribute. We hope to meet you all next year in Auckland—and, in the meantime, we hope to see you online.
Hollie Pich and Samuel Watts, Co-Founders and Managing Editors of ANZASA Online