Film Review: In P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice Pynchon’s “Badass” prevails

Pynchon mentions, and praises, the “Badass” in one of his few essays: “when times are hard, and we feel at the mercy of forces many times more powerful, don’t we, in seeking some equalizer, turn, if only in imagination, in wish, to the Badass… who will resist what otherwise would overwhelm us?” Ultimately breaking noir convention, Inherent Vice does turn, if only in part, to the Badass detective. Bigfoot’s diligent respect for his deceased police partner’s memory, which further distances him from any thug-cop stereotype, leads him to have a very personal stake in Doc’s case and he ends up working more or less alongside the stoned PI. Continue reading

60 Seconds With Peter Molin

To usher in a new series of 60 seconds interviews for 2015 we have invited contemporary war literature experts Assistant Professor Aaron DeRosa (California State Polytechnic University), Assistant Professor Peter Molin (Rutgers University) and Associate Professor Patrick Deer (New York University) to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their expertise.

DeRosa, Molin and Deer will lead our January #Bookhour discussion on Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT on the 27th January 2015, 9-10pm GMT.

“How did you come to your current area of research?”

“My own military deployment to Afghanistan in 2008-2009 inspired me to begin reading contemporary war literature. I started my blog Time Now: The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in Art, Film, and Literature to publicize great work and initiate conversations on the subject.” 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

American Studies in Europe: Interview with Gözde Erdoğan, Hacettepe University, Ankara

“In my own academic career, there has been a natural trajectory from more literature-based research towards popular culture. After the emergence of neo-Marxism, post-structuralism, semiotics and postmodernism, I think the boundaries are collapsing and popular culture is becoming more and more a legitimate field of sociological study. I am also aware of the need for an interdisciplinary approach no matter what the field of research. Again, from my own research, I think Gothic studies are becoming more and more relevant, and should be explored as a wide interdisciplinary field.” Continue reading

Must-Hear Podcasts: A List for Students and Scholars of American Studies

In December 2014 we asked you what are the very best podcasts for students and scholars in American Studies. Here is the list we received!

Podcasts that made the list include the popular Serial, This American Life, Love+ Radio, Planet Money, Night Vale and BackStory to some surprising scientific recommendations, including NASA Science Casts and StarTalk! Continue reading

American Studies in Europe: Interview with Dietmar Meinel, Freie Universität Berlin

Richard Martin: Your postgraduate work was undertaken at the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin, which was founded in 1963. How would you characterise the approach to American Studies taken at the institute? Dietmar Meinel: My personal experience has been shaped by two trajectories at the JFKI. On the one … Continue reading