Night: Another Frontier in American Wilderness Studies?

In his groundbreaking book, At Day’s Close (2005), A. Roger Ekirch deftly reveals one of the significant differences between the pre- and post-industrial world: the overwhelming darkness of night in the absence of electric lighting. ‘Night brutally robbed men and women of their vision, the most treasured of human senses. None of sight’s sister senses, not even hearing or touch, permitted individuals such mastery over their environs’ (8). In a world of perpetual light, we post-industrialists have lost the sense of terror within the pre-industrialist’s night. Continue reading

Configuring The Dream Factory: Prince Fans and Destabilisation of the Album in the Digital Age

The speed with which ‘Prince’s ‘Vault’ of unreleased recordings was drilled into after his untimely death felt shocking to many. The existence of ‘The Vault’, a locked room within Prince’s Paisley Park recording complex, has been well known for decades and is believed to contain thousands of unreleased Prince recordings, as well as unseen music videos. However, the promise of authorising material that fans have been making their own for a considerable amount of time has refuelled discussion. Continue reading

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

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

Research Across Borders – As fragile as a metaphor: Constructing Edna St. Vincent Millay from the Library of Congress records

These newspaper and magazine articles provide a striking insight into the version of Millay constructed by the press. She is consistently referred to as a ‘little poetess’ and reviews of her live performances pay as much attention on her gowns, hairstyles and gestures as they do the words of her poems. Continue reading

The legacy of Black Power Visual Culture in 1990s Hip Hop

Artists such as KRS-One, Public Enemy and Chuck D. position themselves as heirs to the legacy of the Panthers and Malcolm X by creatively updating the “media-conscious iconography of sixties black radicalism for a 1990s constituency”, says Hannah Jeffery. Continue reading

Review (Part Two) of IAAS Annual Conference

The design and implementation of a runaway artificial intelligence was a concern felt by many of the panellists. An AI that proved particularly threatening was one that may be built upon the incorporation of human minds into a computer network. The potential for an omnipresent surveillance filtered into an important term used at the conference – ‘hive mind’. Continue reading

Review of ‘Avant-Gardes Now!’ Symposium

Throughout the whole day there were repetitions of specific phrases which became tagged to the definition of avant-garde. Notions of simulation and mimicry were frequently raised in relation to the differences between what is imagined, and what is supposed. Continue reading

“The Land Entire Saturated”: Commemorating the Civil War Dead at 150 years

  April 9th, 2015 marked the sesquicentennial commemoration of the surrender of the General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac under the command of General Grant. The surrender sounded the death knell for the shattered Confederacy. Appomattox was no cause for outpourings of joy; the … Continue reading

Conference Review: ‘Protest: Resistance and Dissent in America’

Bianca Scoti and Dr Tomas Pollard review a selection of panels and the keynote lectures at the BAAS Postgraduate Conference (15 November, 2014) Continue reading