Book Review: U.S. Military Bases, Quasi-Bases and Domestic Politics in Latin America by Sebastian E. Bitar

Bitar

Since 1999 all attempts by the US government to open formal military bases in Latin America have failed. This leads one to assume the US has lost much of its military influence in the region. However, the existence of so-called quasi-bases, or informal bases, discussed in Sebastian Bitar’s book, demonstrates that the US has managed to maintain its military influence. Quasi-bases differ from formal bases in no other way than that they lack a formal lease agreement for use of facilities. Essentially, quasi-bases serve the same purposes as formal bases, but exist in a cloud of secrecy. Continue reading

Book Review: Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932-1965 by Eric Schickler

Schickler

Beginning his history with Roosevelt’s election in 1932, Schickler argues that civil rights was, put simply, ‘not part of the programmatic liberal vision in the early 1930s’ (27). With African American voters generally loyal to the party of Lincoln, and with Roosevelt attempting to appease both the organized labor movements of the South and West (who were generally resistant to civil rights) and conservative northeastern business interests, it took the creation of the Congress of Industrialized Organizations (CIO) in 1935 to bring African Americans into the coalition and redefine New Deal liberalism. Continue reading

Storify of our #bookhour on HYSTOPIA by David Means

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On Tuesday 2nd August 2016, Dr Dorothy Butchard, Dr Ciarán Dowd, Dr Deirdre Flynn, and Dr Dan King joined #bookhour organiser Dr Diletta De Cristofaro to chat about David Means’ Hystopia, in the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2016. The discussion focused on the form of the novel, both in its postmodern nested narratives and framing devices, and in its various story arcs; on the relationship between alternate history and trauma, as well as on that between individual agency and state intervention; and, finally, on the text’s use of Baudrillardian tropes and its problematic depiction of women. Continue reading

When a novel changes a social system: Mary Jane Ward’s The Snake Pit (1946) and the US state psychiatric hospital

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It is rare for a novel to radically affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, yet Mary Jane Ward’s novel, The Snake Pit (1946), drew widespread critical attention to the plight of the mentally ill in American state asylums. It is not claiming too much to say that treatment of the insane began its long, unsteady road to improvement after Ward’s fiction had reached out to a huge, popular audience, tackling a subject that had previously been taboo. Continue reading

Primaries as Sports and Spectacle: Sports Metaphors in Twenty-First Century Presidential Primary Debates

44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, throws a football at Soldier Field

‘The Brawl Begins’, an article about the 2016 primaries in The Economist provides the most overt manifestation of how a discourse of sports has permeated contemporary political reporting. Describing elections as a “jaw-dropping spectacle” or referring to the Iowa caucuses as the “opening round” in a political boxing match, a prime example of horse-race journalism, is particularly prevalent in presidential primary elections. Continue reading

“FACTS TAKE A BACKSEAT TO MYTHS” – BREXIT FROM AN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE. An Interview with Leif Johan Eliasson

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As the UK is still waking up to a radically changed political, social and economic outlook, our European Relations Katharina Donn editor asked Prof. Leif Johan Eliasson for his take on the Brexit referendum. The author of America’s Perceptions of Europe (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) offers a sobering perspective on transatlantic relations in the face of populism, regionalism, and domino effects. Continue reading

My Research: Juliet Williams

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‘My Research’ is a new feature that aims to introduce and summarise the research and work of Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers within the field of American and Canadian Studies. Sit back, and get to know some of the craziest, challenging, and rewarding places researchers have been taken to… Continue reading