We are sorry to learn of the recent death of Amy Kaplan, Edward W. Kane Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and past president of the American Studies Association. Kaplan was co-editor, with Donald J. Pease, of Cultures of United States Imperialism (1994), a collection which marked a paradigm shift for the field of American Studies, forcing scholars to contend with the United States’s imperialist history. Kaplan also contributed to several edited collections we published: No More Separate Spheres! (2002), September 11 in History (2003), and The Futures of American Studies (2002).
Retired Executive Editor Reynolds Smith worked closely with Kaplan during his time at the Press. He shared these words
Trying to come to terms with the many emotions stirred by Amy’s death brings to mind her gift of quiet calm while the storm rages, her wry and reassuring grin in the midst of the disturbing facts on the ground. What a great loss for, first of all, the inhabitants of this nation, now engaged once again, and perhaps as never before, in trying to figure out how to rescue our country from the failures of its past that still linger, even seemingly proliferate, in the present. Cultures of United States Imperialism was one huge step forward in the struggle to recognize, understand, and accept these failures and move on from them to a greater good. For Amy it was an early step in the direction she followed in the rest of her brilliant career. I share some of the pain I know her friends and family feel, and I send them my deepest condolences at the loss of this very special person, who shined a light into the darkness we must negotiate for our survival and that of all the others who share our world.
Our condolences to Amy Kaplan’s family, friends and colleagues.