Storify of #bookhour chat on THE MANDIBLES by Lionel Shriver

October 2016 marked our two year anniversary of #bookhour, and to celebrate this ongoing feature former U.S. Studies Online co-editor Michelle Green hosted a discussion of ‘financial crisis dystopia’ The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver with a panel of US and UK researchers. During the discussion Dr Kirk Boyle, Amy Bride, Sarah McCreedy and Michelle Green discussed Shriver’s depiction of material culture, emotions and capitalism, and to what extent the novel is a dystopia or plays with dystopian tropes. Debates arose around how self-conscious Shriver’s novelistic writing is, and if the novel is a Libertarian Candide or postmodern parody. The panellists ended the discussion by returning to The Mandibles as a neonaturalist novel, and left the chat asking, do the Mandibles achieve their capitalist utopia, and is a capitalist utopia achievable? Continue reading

Idealist or not? Hamlet 2.0: New Hampshire election results

The Primaries in New Hampshire ended with victories for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The former closed with a clear lead of 22 points over Hillary Clinton, while Trump left behind the uncertain John Kasich, with a 20% advantage. U.S. Studies Online and the Italian Association for North American Studies postgraduate group (www.ceraunavoltalamerica.it) present a summary of key developments and reflections following the latest events in the race to the White House. Continue reading

Feel the Bern, find the Cruz: Iowa election results

On the 1st of February, the American electoral machine was officially set in motion with caucuses in Iowa.

Both the Cruz victory and the Sanders’s arguable success are indicators of a polarization inside the American electorate, characterized by anti-politics and anti-establishment trends. Continue reading

Book Review: Borders of Equality: The NAACP and the Baltimore Civil Rights Struggle, 1914-1970 by Lee Sartain

Lee Sartain focuses on Baltimore due to its historical significance as a border city and its proximity to Washington D.C. While racism and segregation existed here as they did elsewhere in the early twentieth century, Baltimore espoused a relatively large black middle class and offered some degree of black voice and representation. Continue reading

Book Review: Downwardly Mobile: The Changing Fortunes of American Realism by Andrew Lawson

“In Downwardly Mobile: The Changing Fortunes of American Realism Andrew Lawson traces the origins of literary realism to a fear of downward mobility that stemmed from the economic uncertainty caused by the growing instability of material wealth and the destabilising effects of the credit and market system. For Lawson, realism is a concrete genre that responded to a very un-concrete, pervasive economic anxiety.” Continue reading

#Bookhour: LET ME BE FRANK WITH YOU by Richard Ford

On Monday 29th December 2014, 9-10pm GMT scholars Jennifer Daly (TCD) and Dr. Gillian Groszewski (TCD) joined Co-Editor Michelle Green (University of Nottingham) to discuss the fourth instalment in Richard Ford’s Bascombe series, his 2014 novella Let Me Be Frank With You. Check out the storify below to catch up on their conversation which tackled Ford’s controversial representation of race, place, Hurricane Sandy and Obama’s legacy. Find out what they thought of Frank’s character development (does he develop?), his contradictions (can he really say “place means nothing” now?), and his future (is the last we have seen of Ford’s “uncommon man”?). 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

Book Review: Chasing the American Dream – Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes by Mark Robert Rank, et al

The American Dream is a concept and ideal that millions of people around the word subscribe to wholeheartedly, to the extent that huge numbers risk everything just to have a chance of achieving it. Chasing the American Dream explains just what that dream is, what it means to a plethora of Americans striving for it and assesses whether it is still possible to achieve in the context of an economic downturn. Continue reading

“A Northern city with Southern characteristics”: Ferguson and the History of Race Relations in the St. Louis Region

In 1970, Ferguson was 99% white and 1% black; in 2010, Ferguson was 29% white and 67% black. However, the town leadership and police do not reflect this shift—only three of the community’s fifty-three police officers are black […] St. Louis is a Northern industrial city with Southern characteristics. The effects of this combination caused one anthropologist to argue that St. Louis holds a Deep South ideology and social structure “straitjacketed in northern-style industrial infrastructure” resulting in an “astounding record of poverty and ethnic segregation.” Continue reading