Linking the Secondary Schools and the University: American Studies as a Collaborative Public Enterprise

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This forum extends a session originally held at the American Studies Association (ASA) convention in Washington, D.C., when most of those listed above participated in a celebratory yet critical conversation about a 1995-1996 project--"Domesticating the Secondary Canon"--funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The call for proposals for the 1997 convening of the association, inviting the ASA membership's consideration "of what we mean and how we are shaped by public spaces, public institutions, and public life," seemed to invite us to revisit that collaboration. The project developed at the intersection of multiple public spaces--a federal agency, a state university, local secondary schools--and the impulse at the heart of the "Domesticating the Secondary Canon" enterprise was (and still is) to enhance reform ofpublic education.' We also take both the 1997 convention call and the acceptance of our panel proposal as representative of ASA's growing interest in such university-school projects.