Book Review: Battle for Bed-Stuy: The Long War on Poverty in New York City by Michael Woodsworth

In recent years Brooklyn has become trendy. Young professionals have rushed to buy homes in neighbourhoods like Park Slope and Red Hook, while budding artists, writers, and musicians have flocked to Williamsburg and Green Point. Even those not looking to live in Brooklyn have been drawn to the hip new bars, restaurants, and shops that populate the borough’s newly fashionable neighbourhoods. While the intertwined forces of displacement and gentrification have reshaped only select areas of Brooklyn, there can be no question that the national and international reputation of New York City’s most populous borough has been thoroughly transformed. Continue reading

Book Review: Invisible Nation: Homeless Families in America by Richard Schweid

‘Fifty years ago’, Schweid points out, ‘the word “homeless” signified dysfunctional individuals – mostly men – who drank heavily and slept rough. Now it is more likely to mean a young single mother with small children and a minimum-wage job. In 1980 families with children made up only 1 percent of the nation’s homeless; by 2014 that number was 37 percent of the total.’ Continue reading

‘Homo Abominum Americana’: The cultural tradition of the vampire in Snyder and Albuquerque’s American Vampire (2010).

‘Beyond the Graphic’ – Considering Violence, Sexuality and Obscenity in Comics

ne of the most popular cultural figures to be adapted within the comic book format is that of the vampire, a creature whose murky cultural origins have been prone to evolution throughout its long and varied history. A staple of both European and American Gothic traditions as well as the American horror comics of the 1950s, vampire literature has long been associated with the lower end of the established critical canon, particularly due to its sometimes violent and sexually explicit content within the ‘low’ form of the comic. Yet, such an elitist view is to ignore some of the interesting insights and cultural evolutions that can be uncovered within the portrayal of the comic book vampire. Continue reading

Review: Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas: “Food and Work in the Americas” edited by Susan Levine and Steve Striffler

The essays in Labor seek to provide its readers with sustainable analysis of the unbreakable linkage of food and labor in different periods and locations of the Americas, thus successfully unveiling food as the crucial but often hidden aspect of production work. 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

The Indentured Atlantic: Bound Servitude and the Literature of American Colonization (Part Three)

The tricky challenge that the Indentured Atlantic presents to scholars is to recover, as far as is possible, the reality of bound servitude while navigating and comprehending the multiple ways in which this reality was articulated, ignored, appropriated, and imagined as part of a diverse range of social, political, economic and racial agendas. The eight dialectical categories and concepts I have broadly sketched out in these posts – singing, ventriloquizing, captivities, slaveries, falling, rising, life-writing, and forgetting – offer one chart for my ongoing research, and perhaps for that of others. But they can surely be joined by others. The Indentured Atlantic, hopefully, will flow on. Continue reading

The Indentured Atlantic: Bound Servitude and the Literature of American Colonization (Part Two)

In concluding the first post in this three-part series I asked how scholars can begin to address the challenge of recovering the transient and elusive oral culture of colonial-era indentured servants. One answer, perhaps, lies in dedicating greater attention to the conceptual rubric of singing, as a mode of communal vocalization that can be connected to the distinctively cohesive and mobile culture of circum-Atlantic performance delineated by theatre scholars such as Joseph Roach, Peter Reed and Elizabeth Maddock Dillon. Continue reading

The Indentured Atlantic: Bound Servitude and the Literature of American Colonization (Part One)

“There was some sleeping, some spewing, some pishing [sic], some shitting, some farting, … some darning, some Blasting their legs and thighs, some their Liver, lungs, lights and eyes. And for to make the shene [sic] the odder, some curs’d Father Mother, Sister, and Brother.”1 As accounts of transatlantic shipboard crossings during the eighteenth century go, this one stands out for its vivid corporeality. But what is truly unusual about it is that it was written by an indentured servant. Continue reading

Review: ‘Money Talks: Inequality and North American Identity’ Conference, 19th June 2015

Amy Bride reviews ‘Money Talks: Inequality and North American Identity’, a conference held at Nottingham University on the 19th June 2015, a collaboration between the 49th Parallel, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Birmingham. Continue reading