As a graduate student with an interest in transatlantic studies, I wonder how the job market with receive me and how I should market myself. Can we truly be transatlantic scholars? Or are we either American Lit or British Lit scholars with a focus or emphasis on transatlantic studies? And if the latter, then how does our primary nationality focus influence our views on transatlantic studies, and importantly, how does it influence the way in which we approach teaching transatlantic texts, authors, and ideas? Is the academy and the MLA job listing opening itself up to more possibilities for transatlantic scholars? And if not (or not quickly enough), how do we navigate being classified by a national identity while teaching transatlantic studies?
The challenge of building transatlantic studies as a field for scholarship and teaching resonates with those facing other interdisciplinary fields in their early stages. So we can take heart from those. In Gender and Women Studies, for instance, initially there were tiny pockets of activity at a few universities, but the emerging field grew, over time, not only in numbers of participants, but also in institutional identity markers such as faculty lines, academic programs, and more. We can hope that 20 years from now, we’ll see a similar trajectory in transatlantic studies.