When we founded History of the Present, we asked Amy Kaplan to join the journal’s advisory board because we considered her work to embody our vision of critical history. She was trained not as a historian but as a scholar of American literary and cultural studies. She nonetheless worked with history; indeed all of her books are histories—critical studies of American cultural politics that have transformed the fields of American studies and US history. Her books, The Social Construction of American Realism (1988), Cultures of United States Imperialism (edited with Donald Pease, 1993), The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture (2002), and Our American Israel: The Story of an Entangled Alliance (2018), exemplify what we take to be the history of the present: calling into question the official histories of the American nation and empire and retelling those...

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