60 Seconds With Jennifer Daly

You’re stranded on a desert island, but luckily you pre-empted it. Which book do you take with you?

“This is a horrible, horrible question. I never have just one book with me. However, I’m going to pretend that my house is on fire and I can only rescue one. That would be my signed copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It’s my favourite book. It’s beautifully written and every time I read it I get something different from it.” Continue reading

The War Memorial in Visual Culture – Triumphalism and Repression in The West Wing and The X-Files

Here, I will look at two memorials to major wars in American history and their representations in mainstream television drama – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in a fourth season episode of The X-Files entitled ‘Unrequited’ (Michael Lange, 1997), and the Korean War Veterans Memorial in a first season episode of The West Wing entitled ‘In Excelsis Deo’ (Alex Graves, 1999). Do they use memorials in a celebratory fashion, or to question and challenge the purpose of the wars to which the monuments are dedicated? Does their representation signal an affirmation of national unity as in the case of The West Wing, or, as in The X-Files, is it indicative of the fracturing and disintegration of this construct? Continue reading

Book Review: American Unexceptionalism – The Everyman and the Suburban Novel after 9/11 by Kathy Knapp

By ignoring the lack of innovation in fiction after “9/11,” and by continuing to privilege the representation of a singular “event” as the cornerstone of a national literature, American Unexceptionalism can only partially commit to dismantling the exceptionalism played upon by its title. Continue reading

60 Seconds With Glen Whitcroft

If you could time-travel to observe one moment in the history of America, where would you go?

“I’d probably travel back to 9 April, 1939 and stand with the 75,000 people that gathered to see Marian Anderson perform a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. It’s an often overlooked moment in civil rights history, but definitely a very significant one!” Continue reading

Editor’s Feature: ECR Ben Offiler Reflects On His First Academic Interview

Following the popularity of Sue Currell’s post on “Academic Job Applications: Do’s and Don’ts”, we thought it would be a good idea to consider what happens when you actually get invited to interview. Next week, we will be publishing Sue’s post on “Academic Job Interviews: Do’s and Don’ts” but today USSO co-editor Ben Offiler writes about his first academic interview experience:

“After deciding that my powder blue wedding tux wasn’t suitable for an interview I bought a new green suit (I know, a bold choice), having my own Pretty Woman moment in the process.” Continue reading

Book Review: Sex Scene – Media and the Sexual Revolution by Eric Schaefer

Citing the work of Alan Petigny, and also that of contemporary sexologists such as Alfred Kinsey, editor Eric Schaefer claims that ‘what constituted the sexual revolution was not only a change in manners and morals; that had already been occurring discretely in minds and bedrooms across the nation. It was the fact that sex was no longer a private matter that took place behind closed doors’. (3) Featuring fifteen chapters by sixteen different authors, Sex Scene seeks to argue that ‘what we have come to understand as the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s was actually a media revolution’. Continue reading