Foreign observers of American culture have always been puzzled by the invocation in all kinds of unlikely contexts of judicial authority, by the constant reference to personal rights and freedoms, and by the way in which any topic - be it of a political, moral, so- cial or cultural kind - invariably turns into a legal one. Permeating, as it does, all levels of American society and penetrating into all corners of American culture, the law therefore makes an obvious area of study for anyone interested in American Studies. The thematic approaches of the ten essays in this volume are very different and wide-ranging. What the authors of the essays all have in common is a concern for American law and legal discourse as these relate to American culture. Incorporating into the field of American Studies legal concerns and legal issues presents problems of both a methodological and an ideological nature. Several of these are intrinsic to the very attempt of doing interdisciplinary work and consequently concern the nature of American Studies itself. Addressing these problems as they crop up in relation to the cultural works discussed, the contributing authors show that some of the most fertile debates of our discipline are currently taking place within law and American Studies.