Volume V, Number 2, Fall 2009 · Special Issue: Proceedings of the 2008 HAAS Conference

Foreword by Zoltán Vajda

Zoltán Vajda is Associate Professor and Head at the Department of American Studies, University of Szeged, Hungary. Email:

The essays of this Americana number were originally presented on October 17-18, 2008 at the biennial conference of the Hungarian Association for American Studies (HAAS) held in Szeged, Hungary. Selected from a pool of papers read at the conference, they represent the current state of the profession in Hungary and beyond. The theme of the conference, thus adequately labeled ”American Studies in Hungary and Beyond” was offered by the current historical context in Hungary and all over Europe, with higher education undergoing radical changes profoundly affecting Liberal Arts and the Humanities. All that, coupled with requirements for the new American Studies BA and MA programs have set the boundaries and opened new ways of understanding, teaching and research activity nationwide. This new situation evoked the following questions to be responded to by the conference:

What is the current state of American Studies under the new circumstances as far as its nationally and internationally specific features are concerned? How do individual contributions to the field shape the contours of American Studies as well as its position within disciplinary boundaries? What is it that we can/should achieve within the new boundaries in response to demands in view of teaching and research concerns?

The responses to the call represented a diverse selection of scholarly ventures in fields ranging from Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Media and Visual Culture, History and Literary Studies, through Ethnic and Race Studies to Gender or Film Studies, some disciplinary, others interdisciplinary, but all addressing issues defined by a passionate interest in problems pertaining to American Studies in and outside Hungary.