Review: Bellows and the Body: the Real, the Ideal and the Nude

Inspired by and focused on the George Bellows collection—recently acquired by the Barber Institute—this symposium brought together international academics to discuss art and culture of Bellows’ America. Bellows was arguably one of the most acclaimed American artists of his generation and the most prominent member of the Ashcan School. The event brought together discussion of Bellows and his work with more practical aspects of curation and acquisition, providing a fascinating insight into the value and importance of the collection. Continue reading

Review: ‘My Dream or Yours? Make America ______ Again’, IAAS Postgraduate Symposium

‘My Dream or Yours? Make America ______ Again’, Irish Association for American Studies Postgraduate Symposium, University College Cork, 26 November 2016. The 2016 Irish Association of American Studies Postgraduate Symposium boasted a triumphant return to Cork following a number of successful conferences in the capital since 2011. The theme, ‘My … Continue reading

Review: The US and Us: American History in Britain in the Twenty-First Century

The framing question of the workshop was: how do we research the US from a distance? Andrew Johnstone, the organiser of this series of events, and holder of the British Academy’s Rising Star Award, drew together an impressive roster of academics, archivists, and librarians to help us answer that question. Continue reading

Review: American Politics Group Conference

At this year’s American Politics Group (APG) annual conference at the University of Leicester, the 2016 US election and the then upcoming presidency of Donald J. Trump hardly warranted a mention. If that sounds unlikely to you, you are quite right. Trump, Trumpism, and the ‘failure to predict’ were hot topics across multiple panels, across dinner tables, and in the inevitable post-conference drinks. The campaign waged by ‘the Donald’ and his subsequent victory inspired a diverse range of assessments and analyses. No doubt, this will be the pattern for years to come. Continue reading

Review: Bowie’s Books Conference

Few musicians, perhaps, have been so closely identified with literature than David Bowie. Marking just over a year since the artist’s death ‘Bowie’s Books’, organised by Professor Richard Canning and Dr Sam Reese, gathered scholars from a variety of backgrounds for an interdisciplinary conference on Bowie’s relationship with literature. Continue reading

Review: ‘Homeland Insecurities’, the Canadian Association for American Studies Annual Conference

Thinking of the Patriot Act, the extrajudicial killing of Black people by American police, or Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall, anxiety appears to permeate American society. With this in mind, the annual Canadian Association of American Studies conference could not have come together under a better heading than ‘Homeland Insecurities’. Continue reading

Review Responses: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’

Following our review series of the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, the panelists were given the opportunity to respond to the reviews; discussing questions posed, expanding on specific areas of interest, and addressing issues raised. The responses which follow—from Simon Buck (Northumbria University), Mark Eastwood (University of Nottingham), and Lauren Mottle (University of Leeds) serve to continue the conversation beyond the day itself. Continue reading

Review: ‘American Communities: Between the Popular and the Political’

Since the early 1980s, before which, according to Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘the word community was unknown to the discourse of thought’, the concept of ‘community’ has experienced a meteoric rise in politics, cultural discourse and academia. While the OED defines community as a group of people ‘shar[ing] the same interests, pursuits, or occupation’ and ‘distinguished by shared circumstances of nationality, race, religion, sexuality, etc.; esp. such a group living within a larger society from which it is distinct’, this notion of community is too simplistic and in fact ‘colored by romantic nostalgia for homogeneity, closeness, and sameness’. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Patriot or Protester?: Changing Ideas of Americanism during the Vietnam Era’

The concepts of patriotism and Americanism continue to constitute central facets of American national identity and thus remain important notions within the American political milieu. For example, on 1 September 2016, just eight days before this panel discussed the concept of Americanism during the Vietnam era, The Guardian reported on prospective president Donald Trump’s plans for American schoolchildren to be taught greater respect for patriotic values. In light of the recent election result, this is even more prescient. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Endangered America: Processing the Threat of Annihilation’

In the fourth of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Jennifer O’Reilly reviews a panel featuring Andrew Monteith (Indiana University) and Mark Eastwood (University of Nottingham). The notion of America under threat has circulated in popular discourse for decades and remains a prominent concern today. In a recent poll featured in USA Today, conducted by Monmouth University, 78% of respondents said that they felt the American way of life was under threat ‘a great deal’ or at least ‘some’. Continue reading