Black Films Matter: Reassessing Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ in Post-Ferguson America

Charged with social awareness and style, Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing is nothing less than a street ballet. It fuses music with the body, giving characters idiosyncratic and physically charged expression to their narrative arcs. They shuffle, strut, stride, and twitch their way through the world, with changes in bodily (and musical) expression coming to signify much larger attitudinal shifts. These changes are important – they help the film to antagonise its audience, shining an uncompromising light upon the hidden subtexts of modernised racism, degradation, and white supremacy. Continue reading

Book Review: The Unspeakable Failures of David Foster Wallace by Clare Hayes-Brady

It has become difficult to think about David Foster Wallace without thinking about the intense dedication he inspires among his readers. His writing’s knotty brilliance is responsible both for his fanbase and for the field of Wallace Studies. More than perhaps any other late-twentieth-century writer, his work invites an academic response, not least because Wallace himself was fluent in the language and methodologies of academia. Continue reading

Kentucky: Between Populism and Creationism

On 17 May the state of Oregon voted for both parties and gave, on the Republican side, an expected victory to Donald Trump, and a less predictable Bernie Sanders victory on the Democratic side. Sanders beat Clinton by 12 points and won 34 delegates out of 73. On the same day the Democratic party also voted in Kentucky (Republicans had voted on 5 March), where Clinton gained 0.5% more votes than Sanders, but both received approximately the same number of delegates. Continue reading

Review: IBAAS Joint Conference

If social media is anything to go by, ‘IBAAS’ the joint conference between the Irish and British Associations for American Studies was ushered in with much excitement. Twitter was inundated with #IBAAS16 updates of those making their way to Belfast. The typically erratic Northern Irish weather may have surprised some but it did little to dampen spirits. Over three days almost one hundred panels treated attendees to papers from an international cohort of academics, demonstrating the breadth and scope of American Studies. Despite, or perhaps because of, the variety of interests, the conference generated a significant amount of cross-panel discussion and thought. Continue reading

Book Review: Richard Ford and the Ends of Realism by Ian McGuire

With the publication of the widely praised Canada in 2012 and the unexpected return to the character of Frank Bascombe in 2014’s Let Me Be Frank With You, Ford himself has been highly active of late, doing regular public readings, interviews and appearances. However, scholarly analysis of Ford’s work has remained scarce, with just a handful of book-length critiques published, and the odd reference to his novels and short stories in studies on more general topics. Continue reading