Poised between the land and the sea, enabling the dynamic flow of people and goods, while also figuratively representing a safe place of rest and refuge, the harbor constitutes a liminal, ambivalent space par excellence that has been central to the American imagination and history since the early colonial days. From the mythical tales of discovery and foundation to the endless flows of migrants, through the dark pages of the slave trade and the imperialistic dream of an ever-expanding nation, harbors, both as a trope and as physical spaces, powerfully signify the American experience. Today, at a time when ideas of border protection and policing gain political prominence in the U.S. and elsewhere, harbors and the constellation of meanings they subsume have become an even more crucial object of critical inquiry. In this volume, thirty-two American Studies scholars from around the world interrogate the manifold significance of ports and of the exchanges they enable or restrain, casting a decentered look onto the complex positioning of the United States in its political, ideological, and cultural relationships with the rest of the world. This collection thus offers a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary investigation of the U.S.A., engaging the most recent trends in American Studies and actively participating in the international and transnational reconfiguration of the field.