State of the Field

By: Austin Bailey

My interests/sub-fields are American pragmatism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and 19th century American literature. While there are many journals that publish articles on and in all three of these subjects, there are a couple that are particularly prominent for merging all three of these categories:

1) The Pluralist. Here is a partial description of the journal’s aims:

“The journal upholds the Socratic dictum of self-knowledge and the love of wisdom as the purpose of philosophy. It seeks to express philosophical insights and concerns humanely and with an eye to literary as well as philosophical excellence, but technical papers are welcome. The Pluralist is a forum for discussion of diverse philosophical standpoints and pluralism’s merits. The Pluralist considers high-quality submissions on any philosophical topic written from any philosophical perspective. Articles that defend some type of pluralism, apply a pluralistic perspective to contemporary issues, or take a critical stance against pluralism are encouraged.”

The Pluralist mostly publishes articles on William James, John Dewey, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sander Peirce, as well as contemporary cultural studies.

2) ESQ: Journal of the American Renaissance. Here is a description:

“ESQ is devoted to the study of nineteenth-century American literature. We invite submission of original articles, welcome work grounded in a wide range of theoretical and critical perspectives, and encourage inquiries proposing submissions and projects. A special feature is the publication of essays reviewing groups of related books on figures and topics in the field, thereby providing a forum for viewing recent scholarship in broad perspectives.”

ESQ is the “big kahuna” as far as I can see. They publish a lot of prominent scholars and the work featured is always super interesting.

3) Philosophy and Literature. Here is a description:

“For more than thirty years, Philosophy and Literature has explored the dialogue between literary and philosophical studies. The journal offers fresh, stimulating ideas in the aesthetics of literature, theory of criticism, philosophical interpretation of literature, and literary treatment of philosophy. Philosophy and Literature challenges the cant and pretensions of academic priesthoods through its assortment of lively, wide-ranging essays, notes, and reviews that are written in clear, jargon-free prose.”

Looking at their most recent edition, they have topics ranging from Freud and Philology to Richard Rorty and Jonathan Franzen. But they publish a lot of articles related to pragmatism and William James, as well as Emerson.

4) Journal of Speculative Philosophy. Here is a description:

“The Journal of Speculative Philosophy publishes systematic and interpretive essays about basic philosophical questions. Scholars examine the constructive interaction between Continental and American philosophy, as well as novel developments in the ideas and theories of past philosophers that have relevance for contemporary thinkers. The journal also features discussions of art, religion, and literature that are not strictly or narrowly philosophical. Book reviews are included in each issue.”

Three Recent Books

Pragmatism and American Experience by Joan Richardson (who teaches at the Grad Center)

Emerson’s Transatlantic Romanticism by David Greenham.

Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth Century America Ed. by Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith.


The American Literature Association has a big annual conference that includes panels, presentations, and calls for papers on a wide range of subjects within American Literature.

Conference site

The Thoreau Society’s Annual Gathering. The Thoreau society holds conference presentations and panels every July in Concord, MA.


The American Studies Association.

There’s also the ACLA.

University Press Series

Oxford University Press keeps coming up again and again for works in my sub-field. For examine, James M. Albrecht’s Reconstructing Individualism: A Pragmatic Tradition from Emerson to Ellison, which was published in 2012 under Fordham University Press, which I believe is operating as a subsidiary.

Here is a fascinating wiki page where authors share their experiences with these academic presses:

Cambridge, of course, does a great Companion series to major authors, but I think they mostly only select scholars with a lot of publications and prestigious positions. At least that’s what I’ve seen in their Companion series. Cambridge also has a series in American Literature and Culture.

Speaker Series

Various events at the Grad Center, especially American Studies Events.

Here is the website for the events series through NYU’s English department

New York Historical Society

The Times Center

92nd Street Y.

Scholarly Blogs

Here is a blog maintained by Brenda Winneaple called “The American Scholar.” She seems to be writing mostly about nineteenth century American Literature.

“The American Scholar”–which I am just now hearing of–seems to be an e-zine on American Literature and culture, both historical and contemporary.

Christopher Newfield is a nineteenth century Americanist and blogs about education:

This is an awesome blog by an Emersonist and Transcendentalism scholar who is into Digital pedagogies:

Scholars’ Twitter Pages

David S. Reynolds

Russel Sbriglia

Eric Lott

Institutions’ Twitter Pages

English PhD Program:

Project Muse:

CUNY adjunct project: