"Anthropologies of the United States," by Jessica Cattelino, is a review article published by the Annual Review of Anthropology in 2010. This article is significant in the way Cattelino simultaneously problematizes traditional, culturally-bounded approaches to area studies along with reactionary research that neglects to appreciate the impact of US empire and the role of the nation-state in shaping regional programs of research.
How are the epistemological and political issues of this region shaping STS?
How is research based in this region contributing to the field of STS and to critical thinking about regional scientific cultures?
In what ways are STS scholars in/of the this region “concerned to locate the field (as a discipline, ethnographic site, and theoretical domain)” ?
“Maskovsky (2009) argued that ‘we must first and foremost take seriously the postcolonial critique of area studies’ complicity with imperialism and place U.S. empire at the center of analysis’ (p. 6).” (279)
“American cultural forms move beyond nation state boundaries with, for example, military action, rule of law, U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations, American expatriots, and U.S. corporations abroad.” (279)
“Focusing on the United States risks reinforcing nation-state boundaries, but I take the nation-state and its borders less as givens than as objects of analysis. I show that anthropologists of the United States have been concerned to locate the anthropological field (as discipline, ethnographic site, and theoretical domain) in three ways.” (276)
“By ‘location-work,’ Gupta & Ferguson (1997) refer to the ‘idea that anthropology’s distinctive trademark might be found not in its commitment to ‘the local’ but in its attentiveness to epistemological and political issues of location’ (p. 39).’ (276)
“Anthropologists often organize studies by space, but this practice does not necessarily lead to the naturalization of cultural boundedness. Instead, scholars in and of the United States have investigated the spatialization of the nation-state and citizenship through migration, the production and ideology of localized community, the racialization of place, the cultural politics of environment and the public/private distinction, and the operation of American power and cultural forms beyond U.S. borders.” (276)