HAMILTON 2021 : Special issue of the European Journal of American Studies (EJAS): Hamilton and the Poetics of America
Call For Papers
For those following the course of its reception since its premiere in 2015, there is little
doubt that Hamilton: An American Musical is not just theatre. Rather, it is a cultural phenomenon
embedded in America’s efforts to make sense of a national selfhood in crisis and an increasingly
beleaguered image. The way Hamilton has reflected, fed into and off these efforts does not have
to do only with the musical as “selfcontained” work of art. Perhaps most importantly, it correlates
with how the work has been negotiated in the realm of popular culture and beyond. Hence the main
premise of this issue of the European Journal of American Studies: how Hamilton has been talked
and written about, the remarkable range of response it has attracted within America, and throughout
America’s geocultural ambit, signposts processes of fathoming America’s shifting poetics; that is,
the intricate ensemble of meaning-making tools and concepts by which the functioning of contemporary
American culture can be accessed and assessed.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative genius behind the musical, approached Hamilton as a liminal mythic
figure, and thus as a cultural text of distributed authorship. Hamilton the work can be construed as
an instantiation of Hamilton the myth, a thread woven in the mythic matrix of America’s beginnings.
As an instance of reception that has itself been generatively received to the point of becoming a
cultural phenomenon, Hamilton arguably betrays more about the context from which it sprang than
about the primary mythical material itself. Although it gestures back to the past, it also resonantly
speaks to its (our) own present.
The Hamilton phenomenon is not limited to the constellation of creative products and processes, official
or fan-made, bearing its “trademark,” nor to the dynamics of audience reception that have been woven in
and around the said products. Artists and scholars, as well as professionals and practitioners from
various realms of culture, knowledge, and praxis have been gravitating in increasing numbers toward
the field of forces that is Hamilton, thus further amplifying the phenomenon. However, despite the array
of productive effort at gauging what Hamilton reveals about America to itself and the world, as well as
how and why it does so, this discourse remains dispersed and fragmented in reports, social media posts
and threads around the world wide web.
This issue is an attempt at developing a systematic, structured, and inclusive platform to accommodate
the said discourse in all its interdisciplinary complexity. We invite researchers, scholars, and artists
from within and without the arts and humanities to tease out the historical connections on which Hamilton rests;
put forward intersectional readings of the many identities and categories of difference compiled in it;
reflect on its import in terms of aesthetics, ethics, and/or politics; interrogate it as a site where
rehearsals of social and cultural change involving America but also the rest of the world are currently performed.
Possible topics on which to expound include:
- Hamilton revised - Hamilton contested: reception as a source of controversy and the generativity of reception
(Hamilton as/is Hamilton as/is Hamilton...)
- Hamilton as “branching-out” cultural text: interrelated yet partially self-directed manifestations of the
- Hamilton and media/participatory culture; fan action and/or fan engagement
- Viral Hamilton - viral America; the distributed authorship of both
- Hamilton and outreach: #HAM4HAM lottery, subsidized school tickets, pre- and post-show events; cross-promotional
strategies; distribution and communication patterns; philanthrop as legacy
- Trans/Formations of the American Dream in the American Musical
- Hamilton’s place in the musical genre cycle: from Broadway to Hollywood
- Hamilton and cultural hegemony; Broadway challenged (or not?); questions of access: availability, pricing and the
- Hamilton and celebrity culture; backlash and cancel culture
- De/Constructing Miranda’s public image in the U.S. and abroad
- Hamilton and the political: Hamilton vs. Trump and the contexts of the 2016 and 2020 elections
- Hamilton’s politics: masculinities and femininities; queer casting vs. baiting; ethnoracial diversity vs. color
baiting; casting choices and production ethics
- Hamilton, historicity, intersecting histories; the immigrant’s arrest of history
- The aesthetics and/or controversies of Hamilton’s adaptation; Disney+ and questions of censorship
- Hamilton’s afterlife: The Hamilton MixTape and musical adaptations; domestic and international tours;
transmedia storytelling; transgenerational appeal; documentaries and other treatments
Please submit your article proposal, including author contact information, title, a 300-word abstract,
4-5 keywords, and a short bio by 31 July 2021 to: Melenia Arouh (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Aikaterini
Decisions on article proposals will be communicated to authors in September 2021.
The European Journal of American Studies follows a double blind review process for all papers.