Book Review: American Apocalypse: A History of American Evangelicalism by Matthew Avery Sutton

The aim of Matthew Avery Sutton’s ambitious new monograph, American Apocalypse, is to trace the development of modern evangelicalism in the United States from its late nineteenth century origins to the present day. Central to this story is the question of how the powerful conservative wing of the movement eventually became, during the height of its influence at the end of the twentieth century, a mainstream, unified force which was able to effect the outcome of elections. Continue reading

There’s No Place like Home: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Conquered New York

19 April marked one of the most important events of the 2016 primary elections: the vote in New York State. The results did not dispute the previous day’s polls: Republican Donald Trump won by getting 60.5% of the votes (89 delegates), John Kasich received 25% of the votes (3 delegates), Ted Cruz, 14.5% and no delegates. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton got 57.9% (139 delegates) and Bernie Sanders 42.1% (106 delegates). Continue reading

Book Review: Masculinity in Contemporary Quality Television: The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture by Michael Mario Albrecht

Albrecht first assesses FX sitcom The League as a ‘bromance,’ and a show that ‘offers a hyperbolic version of contemporary masculinity,’ that suggests the concept is ‘an overdetermined term with multiple iterations and complexities, rather than… a simplistic essentialist version of singular maleness’ (42). He provocatively uses the language of ‘safe space’ to suggest how the virtual space of a fantasy football league is utilised to act out unacceptable performances of masculinity, safe from misinterpretation and consequences (46). Continue reading

Champions of Compassion: The American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service and Cold War-Era U.S. Foreign Policy

In the context of the Cold War, writes Joshua Mather, policymakers proved eager to enlist voluntary agencies (and their supporters) in initiatives that enhanced the United States’ image abroad and showcased the altruism nurtured by a democratic, capitalist society. Fully aware of the global struggle for hearts and minds, American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc. leaders touted state-private humanitarianism’s value for U.S. foreign policy. By portraying Americans as deeply attuned to the needs of ordinary foreigners, and voluntary agencies as the collective embodiment of this concern, ACVAFS hoped to score a public diplomacy victory for the United States. Continue reading

Book Review: Democracy Promotion, National Security and Strategy by Robert Pee

The era that Pee covers was, of course, one of high political and cultural tension, thus the arguments that he elucidates in Democracy Promotion are often controversial and heavily mediated by particular political and social persuasions. It is therefore refreshing to find that Pee’s opening chapter recognizes many of these tensions and seeks to forge a path between them. Continue reading

Book Review: The Absence of America: The London Stage, 1576-1642 by Gavin Hollis

In Absence, Hollis discusses the picture of America circulated, he theorizes, by London theatres via “theatergrams” and “theatermemes”. Respectively, these terms comprise elements of character, scene, and situation; and shared allusions, ideas, catchphrases, and the like [3]. More precisely, Hollis discusses and tracks across plays: the ‘meme of the craven adventuring Virginian colonist; the ‘meme of cannibalism; the ‘meme of the displaced Indian; and the theatergrams of European males disguising themselves as Indians [27-9]. Continue reading

My Career Story: Matthew Shaw, Librarian

U.S. Studies Online is excited to introduce our new segment “Career Stories”.  Our “Career Stories” feature is an attempt to incorporate more professional development posts on U.S. Studies Online and address some of the wider anxieties in the postgraduate and early career cohorts regarding employment, employability and the options available. We hope to … Continue reading

Review, ‘An American Toy Story’

Officially launched on 19 March, the museum’s latest exhibition is, ‘An American Toy Story’. From Mickey Mouse to James Bond, the exhibition showcases vintage toys and memorabilia from an eclectic range of films. As explained by Chief Curator Kate Hebert, the exhibition celebrates toys whilst embracing the sense of nostalgia that one feels when recognising a beloved childhood relic. Continue reading

Storify of our #Bookhour on ON SUCH A FULL SEA by Chang-rae Lee

On Tuesday 5th April, Dr Andrew Tate, Dr David Bell, Dr Louise Squire and #bookhour organiser Dr Diletta De Cristofaro discussed Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea. The chat focussed on the defamiliarisation produced by the first-person-plural narration, on how the novel negotiates between the collective and the individual, on acts of resistance as well as the notions of utopia and hope within the text, on the narrative’s extrapolation from present circumstances and on what this extrapolation may suggest in terms of current ecological issues. Catch up on the chat in the storify here. Continue reading

Book Review: Melville in his Own Time edited by Steven Olsen-Smith

During my first research trip to the United States in Summer 2012, I persuaded my friend Margaret to drive us to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to visit Arrowhead – Herman Melville’s farm house. I was half-way through a PhD thesis on Melville, and felt that I couldn’t visit Massachusetts without going to the place where Melville wrote Moby-Dick. Partly, this was touristic curiosity, but there was some bit of me that thought I might better understand the books I was writing about if I could go to the place where Melville wrote them – if I could picture Melville in his immediate context. Continue reading