The article argues that the transnational turn in American studies was born out of the demise of socialist Eastern Europe. To this day, the region has remained the unacknowledged generative transnational space that enabled the international reorientation of American studies. The article demonstrates that the work of the New Americanists is a distinct product of the first postsocialist decade. Special attention is devoted to the methodological writings of Donald Pease, one of the founders of the new field, and to the formative influence of F. O. Matthiessen’s 1947 journey to Czechoslovakia on his political radicalization. The article concludes that the demise of Eastern Europe, a prototypical transnational realm, has facilitated the transnational turn in American studies toward investigations of US imperial practices in other geographical locales.

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