Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and States in Modern America

Ronit Y. Stahl’s new book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America, brings an important new perspective to the study of religious progress and acceptance in the United States. Focusing on the American military chaplaincy and its role in legitimating different faith groups domestically and internationally, Stahl highlights the influence of the military complex in shaping society and social norms. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference 2018

University of Nottingham

Review: ‘Uses and Abuses of the American Past’, HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference, University of Nottingham, 20 October 2018 ‘Uses and Abuse of American Past’, held on 20 October this year, addressed a variety of contemporary issues. Like the BAAS conference on 1968, scheduled just two weeks later, this conference … Continue reading

Book Review: The Lives of Frederick Douglass by Robert S. Levine

The State of the Discipline Series: Part II

The Lives of Frederick Douglass is a fascinating collage of images that recreate various facets of the life of Frederick Douglass. Robert Levine demonstrates insight in delving into the complexity of racialised identities and the changing contours of self-definition in a collection that spans the most popular of Douglass’s writings, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845), as well as his lesser known My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), along with letters, articles, and speeches. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Inaugural Work-in-Progress Meeting

University of Nottingham

Review: HOTCUS Inaugural Work-in-Progress Meeting, University of Nottingham, 19 October 2018 At the inaugural HOTCUS work-in-progress meeting, two developing journal articles were discussed: Dr Miguel Hernandez’s (University of Exeter) paper, ‘”The Menace of Modern Immigration”: Nativism and Violence in the 1920s Ku Klux Klan’ and Dr Alex Bryne’s (University of … Continue reading

‘[S]omething to feel about’: Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of The Last Slave

A Review Essay

It is nearly a century since Zora Neale Hurston wrote Barracoon, an ethnography of Cudjo Lewis, the Alabama man believed to be the last living African enslaved in the United States. On May 8 Lewis’ story became widely available to the public for the first time. To mark this historic occasion, and to commemorate the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston – a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, African-American folklorist and ethnographer, and one of the most significant women writers of the twentieth century – USSO has commissioned a series of articles on any aspect of Hurston’s life, her art, her anthropology. This article is the second in the series. Continue reading

Book Review: Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America by Jennifer Brier, Jim Downs and Jennifer L. Morgan (eds.)

This expansive and ambitious collection sets out to ask what the American past looks like when race and sexuality are the ‘animating questions’ (3), addressing a persistent failure in scholarship to integrate concerns about race and sexuality. Essays here span almost four centuries of North American history, from same-sex desire on seventeenth-century slave plantations to the mass marches of the 1990s and early 2000s. Continue reading

Conference Review: ‘Did Liberalism Fail in the United States after 1945?’

University of Glasgow

The overarching question the conference sought to address, ‘Did liberalism fail in the United States after 1945?’ was well chosen, and of particular relevance to our present historical moment. As attention on both sides of the Atlantic turns towards the upcoming American midterm elections, it is clear that research on contemporary American political history continues to be in high demand among scholars and the public alike. Continue reading

Book Review: The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Files by Marc Becker

While scholars have devoted considerable attention to CIA activities in Latin America during the Cold War, they have spent less time examining intelligence-gathering before 1947, when the CIA was created. Marc Becker, currently Professor of History at Truman State University and author of several books on Ecuador, argues in The FBI in Latin America that scholars need to study FBI operations in Latin America in the 1940s. Continue reading

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery

University of Mississippi

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery, University of Mississippi, 22-26 July 2018 “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination, and career of William Faulkner?” This was the guiding question posed by the Call for Papers of this year’s annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, centered on the … Continue reading