Silence = Death: Podcasting the history of the AIDS Crisis

By Malcolm Craig and Mark McLay, creators of the American History Too! podcast

As two white, straight, middle-class Scottish, male historians, do we have the right to explore such subjects? We would say yes. It’s the job of the historian to look at the evidence, illuminate dark corners, and try to make people aware about what really happened.

We felt that in order to do the subject of the 1980s AIDS crisis justice, we had to avoid repeating many of the myths and falsehoods that abound about the virus and the period. It was important not only examine the historiography of the subject, but crucially to look at the personal testimonies from those who contracted AIDS, those who tried to track its origins, and those who turned a blind eye when they should have extended a hand of friendship.

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Storify of our #bookhour on SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD by Yuri Herrera

February’s #bookhour marked the first of Twitter chat of 2016. Donna Alexander hosted a discussion of Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman. She was joined by Dr Francisca Sánchez Ortiz, Dr Laura Smith, and Lisa Dillman. They considered a range of issues including, the myth of emptiness, the allegory of the underworld and how this worked with Mesoamerican mythologies alluded to by Herrera. Continue reading

Book Review: American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen edited by Sevan G. Terzian and Patrick A. Ryan

Building upon conversations within cultural and media studies, Terzian and Ryan have curated a collection that grapples with the relationship between intent and interpretation—between the way popular media images (mis)represent educational circumstances and the way such images shape how Americans have expected to see their educational surroundings. Continue reading

Book Review: Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique by Robert T. Tally, Jr.

One of the most valuable parts of Tally’s book is its revision of genre definitions. For example, his definition of terror (a definition it would be good for others to adopt) is that terror, at least in Poe, consists not just of the unknown but the unknowable–inscrutability. Such foundational illegibility terrified transcendentalism’s romanticized Enlightenment empiricism Continue reading

Who’s Got the Power: Big Decisions Ahead of Super Tuesday

U.S. Studies Online and the Centro Interuniversitario di Storia e Politica Euro-Americana (CISPEA) postgraduate group ( are pleased to present a recurring summary of the key developments in the lead up to the US Presidential Election 2016. This post brings together leading media analysis following Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory in Nevada, Donald Trump’s latest success in South Carolina, and Jeb Bush’s withdrawal from the White House race, and looks ahead to the battle royale that is Super Tuesday (March 1). Continue reading

Book Review: Fighting over the Founders: How we remember the American Revolution by Andrew M. Schocket

Andrew M. Schocket, Fighting over the Founders: How we remember the American Revolution New York: New York University Press, 2015. Most readers of this book, scholarly or otherwise, will come to it with prejudices about the Revolution and its meanings. They are likely to find them subjected to healthy and timely … Continue reading

The Forgotten LGBT Pioneers of 1956

In this post to mark LGBT History Month, Dr Simon Hall (University of Leeds) – author of 1956: The World in Revolt (London: Faber and Faber, 2016) – discusses the origins of an obscure magazine, Ladder – the official monthly publication of the pioneering lesbian organisation, the Daughters of Bilitis, which sought to promote “the integration of the homosexual in society”, embracing the politics of ‘respectability’ as a way to advance the cause, and to press the claims, of gay and lesbian Americans. The publication of Ladder’s first issue in October 1956, argues Hall, was a quietly subversive act of a truly revolutionary year. Continue reading

Idealist or not? Hamlet 2.0: New Hampshire election results

The Primaries in New Hampshire ended with victories for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The former closed with a clear lead of 22 points over Hillary Clinton, while Trump left behind the uncertain John Kasich, with a 20% advantage. U.S. Studies Online and the Italian Association for North American Studies postgraduate group ( present a summary of key developments and reflections following the latest events in the race to the White House. Continue reading

Feel the Bern, find the Cruz: Iowa election results

On the 1st of February, the American electoral machine was officially set in motion with caucuses in Iowa.

Both the Cruz victory and the Sanders’s arguable success are indicators of a polarization inside the American electorate, characterized by anti-politics and anti-establishment trends. Continue reading