Review: ‘American Communities: Between the Popular and the Political’

twin-peaks

Since the early 1980s, before which, according to Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘the word community was unknown to the discourse of thought’, the concept of ‘community’ has experienced a meteoric rise in politics, cultural discourse and academia. While the OED defines community as a group of people ‘shar[ing] the same interests, pursuits, or occupation’ and ‘distinguished by shared circumstances of nationality, race, religion, sexuality, etc.; esp. such a group living within a larger society from which it is distinct’, this notion of community is too simplistic and in fact ‘colored by romantic nostalgia for homogeneity, closeness, and sameness’. Continue reading

Emily Dickinson and the Nineteenth-Century Women Poets: The Poetics and Politics of Reticence

155_emilydickinsonsmall

When discussing nineteenth-century American women poets, the term ‘reticence’ has been used, almost exclusively, by critics since the 1980s, to refer to poetic strategies that resulted from ‘psychic conflict and anxiety’[1]: women’s literary articulation was suppressed by the patriarchal system, and society demanded reticence in writing by women (e.g. elimination of anger, sexual feelings, and ambition in their work). Continue reading

In Memoriam: Mose Allison’s Blues

mallison

Column inches in 2016 have been filled by the obituaries of many famous figures including Leonard Cohen, Prince, and David Bowie. As such, Mose Allison, the cult jazz and blues pianist who left the stage last month, may not have received his fair share of recognition. Yet, the complex contradictions of his career and the transatlantic scope of his influence deserve further attention and reflection. Continue reading

American Studies across Borders: International Opportunities for PhDs and Postdocs

research across borders

International experience has become a prerequisite for success in academia – but depending on how you look at it, this can be exciting and terrifying in equal measure. In the second interview of this series, I talk to Dr. David Bosold of the John-F.-Kennedy-Institute Berlin about transatlantic relationships, career development, and dreams of meeting US footballers. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Patriot or Protester?: Changing Ideas of Americanism during the Vietnam Era’

lbj-image

The concepts of patriotism and Americanism continue to constitute central facets of American national identity and thus remain important notions within the American political milieu. For example, on 1 September 2016, just eight days before this panel discussed the concept of Americanism during the Vietnam era, The Guardian reported on prospective president Donald Trump’s plans for American schoolchildren to be taught greater respect for patriotic values. In light of the recent election result, this is even more prescient. Continue reading

“In U.S. Cities or on Palestine’s Streets” – A Black-Palestinian Narration of Subaltern Geographies

wistisu

In the audio-visual demonstration When I See Them I See Us, (2015) various Black American and Palestinian individuals and organisations forming the Black-Palestinian Solidarity movement express their apprehension of both groups’ subalternity by linking and remapping experiences between “U.S. cities” and “Palestine’s streets”. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Endangered America: Processing the Threat of Annihilation’

yankee-shot

In the fourth of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Jennifer O’Reilly reviews a panel featuring Andrew Monteith (Indiana University) and Mark Eastwood (University of Nottingham). The notion of America under threat has circulated in popular discourse for decades and remains a prominent concern today. In a recent poll featured in USA Today, conducted by Monmouth University, 78% of respondents said that they felt the American way of life was under threat ‘a great deal’ or at least ‘some’. Continue reading

Book Review: From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton

Elizabeth Hinton has a produced a work that is exceedingly relevant to modern debates and useful not only to specialists but to anyone interested in the historical roots of controversial topics such as mass incarceration, the policing of urban communities, stop and frisk searches, civil asset forfeiture, and the militarisation of American police forces. Hinton makes the connections to current events explicit and displays a striking earnestness; she is not simply discussing abstract policies but also critiquing modern American society. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Situating Servicemen and Women: African American Soldiers during World War Two’

african-americans-wwii-001

‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, Northumbria University, 9 September 2016. In the third of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Jennifer O’Reilly reviews a panel featuring Rosemary Pearce (University of Nottingham) … Continue reading