The New England American Studies Association


Welcome to the New England American Studies Association site.  NEASA is the regional chapter of the American Studies Association (ASA) representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This chapter organizes a number of events and awards including an annual autumn conference, a collection of prizes for recent books and essays, and outreach to secondary school students and teachers. For more information about these activities or about NEASA and the field of American Studies more generally, please click on the links to the left.



Marking the passage of Jesper Rosenmeier, former president of NEASA and founder of the Tufts American Studies Program

Jesper Rosenmeier, founder of the American Studies Program at Tufts University, and a one of the key revitalizers of the New England American Studies Association during the 1980s, died on April 3, 2014.  He was 79 years old.  Although Rosenmeier had retired from Tufts in 2004, he had continued his teaching part time. He was on his way to class prior to his passing.

Born in Denmark, Rosenmeier received his Ph.D in the History of American Civilization from Harvard in 1966, a student of Perry Miller’s. He came to Tufts in 1962, and over the next 40 years became one of the most beloved professors of his generation, widely admired for his gifted and innovative pedagogy, and for his scholarship on seventeen-century Puritanism. Rosenmeier founded the American Studies Program in 1980 and served several terms as director between 1980 and 1992.

Rosenmeier was president of NEASA in the early 1980s. He was instrumental in broadening the organization’s reach to include secondary school teachers on the board, in dedicated conferences, and in panels at the annual program meetings. For over a decade, Rosenmeier consulted with New England high schools interested in establishing American Studies Programs.  He was also instrumental in starting the “Focus on Teaching Day” at the annual American Studies Association conferences, which is ongoing.

Rosenmeier was the recipient of the American Studies Association’s Mary C. Turpie Award for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and program development, in 2000. In addition to his teaching, he published numerous essays and reviews, and the books The Language of Canaan (1976) and Spirituall Concupsicence:  John Cotton’s English Years, 1584 – 1633 (2012).

New England American Studies Association 2014 Conference

Roger Williams University

Bristol, Rhode Island

Oct 17-18

 Emancipations: Lineages, Legacies, and Limits

This year’s NEASA conference will be held at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, a suitable geographic site for dialogues about the complexity of both the meaning and experience of emancipation.  

Bristol is situated on historically Wampanoag land, and is the site of one of the early battles of King Philip’s War in 1675.  During the 18th century, the DeWolfs of Bristol were the leading slave traders in the nation.  The town of Bristol was built upon the land of indigenous people and by the wealth of the slave trade.  

During this conference, Roger Williams University will host an exhibit about Lincoln, the Constitution, and the Civil War, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln declared freedom for slaves, but the legacy of emancipation is more ambiguous. The conference theme asks us to deal deliberately with the lineages, legacies, and limits of various emancipations, and is foregrounded by the conference’s location in an area historically identified with the destruction of freedom.

 What are the limits to the state of being free, of emancipation?  What is at stake when emancipation (of ideas, behaviors and identities) meets cultural, social, economic, and/or political limitations?  Institutions and ideologies promise it, but how often is it realized?  What happens when cultural and ethnic emancipation invite disdain, rather than acceptance?  What does emancipation mean at different life stages?

 To register for the conference, click here.