Book Review: Noise Uprising by Michael Denning

The State of the Discipline Series: Part I

As Benedict Anderson’s concept of nationalism relies on the omnipresence of ‘print capitalism’, so Michael Denning here argues that decolonisation depended on an era of ‘sound capitalism’ – a new, urban, plebeian music that circled the world. In this sense, then, while there is no clear moment when the ear was ‘decolonised’, the battle over sound and music was central to the struggle over colonialism. Continue reading

Zora Neale Hurston: Life and Works

A series to commemorate the historic publication of 'Barracoon: the Story of the Last Black Cargo' (Harper Collins, 2018)

“Of all the millions transported from Africa to the Americas, only one man is left. The only man on earth who has in his heart the memory of his African home; the horrors of a slave raid; the barracoon; the Lenten tones of slavery; and who has 67 years of freedom in a foreign land behind him.” Continue reading

Book Review: The Jolly Corner and Other Tales by Henry James and N.H. Reeve

The word perhaps most associated with Henry James is ‘difficult’. James, ‘The Master’, wrote weighty tomes—masterpieces of literature—fraught with long-winded, circumlocutory, or rather uniquely expressive, sentences. He is generally considered to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James aims to provide, for the first time, a full scholarly edition of the novels and tales of this 20th Century American writer. Continue reading

“Exceptional Zombie Cannibals” – Antonia Bird’s ‘Ravenous’ (1999) and the discourse of American exceptionalism

In the last couple of decades, a conflict has emerged between the perception of exceptionalist rhetoric as a historical symbol of American patriotism and the much more harrowing visions pervading the present-day political stage. For a historian of the antebellum era, such as myself, “American exceptionalism” is synonymic with a post-War of Independence period when America rapidly transformed from a remote and largely unexplored land mass into a force to be reckoned with in the world arena (as noted by non-American observers at the time such as Alex De Tocqueville). Continue reading

“Right to Try” (Again): A history of the experimental therapy movement

In recent weeks and months, momentum has increased on Capitol Hill to craft “right to try” laws that would profoundly change the medical landscape. The national legislation will allow terminally ill patients more access to experimental therapies (drugs, biologics, devices) that have completed Phase 1 testing. Powerful pharmaceutical and biotech concerns have been largely quiet. The Trump administration, for its part, has underlined the issue, not only in the State of the Union Address but in VP Mike Pence’s active support. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS PG Conference 2017 – Contesting Power: Rights, Justice, and Dissent in America and Beyond

University of Cambridge

Given the overarching theme of the conference, it is unsurprising that activism and dissent in the United States were recurring themes, and papers considered, for example, feminist responses to the AIDS crisis, and radical politics within VISTA during the Nixon years. Continue reading

BAAS PG Conference 2018: Keynote Review

University of Essex

Malone’s paper was ambitious in scope, appealing to a range of different disciplines and drawing upon an impressive range of source material and methodological approaches. Despite the often serious nature of her subject matter, Malone’s paper was peppered with humorous asides, keeping the audience’s attention and demonstrating her skill as a speaker. Continue reading

The Southern Student Organizing Committee and the White New Left

The New Left, traditionally defined, involved white students from middle-class backgrounds in northeastern and West Coast hotbeds protesting societal constructs in the 1960s. Most accounts detail foundational connections between white New Leftists and earlier civil rights protest, such as Freedom Summer and the University of California – Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement in 1964, when project participants came back to campus in the fall after grassroots organising in Mississippi. Considering the largely overlooked white southern radicals complicates this bi-coastal narrative. The emergence of the southern New Left is especially apparent in the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC), often viewed as the Students for a Democratic Society’s (SDS) southern counterpart. Continue reading

Book review: Out of Oakland, Black Panther Party Internationalism during the Cold War by Sean L. Malloy

Sean L. Malloy’s book provides a convincing and engaging history of the internationalism of the Black Panther Party (BPP). It is a valuable contribution to scholarship on the BPP, black internationalism, and the intersection of issues of race and the Cold War. Continue reading

Review: ‘A More Perfect Union’: IAAS PG Symposium

Trinity College Dublin

Closing in on a year of turbulence and violence, the symposium’s question of American unity was extremely pertinent. The relationship between past and present, language and truth, healing and communities, and narrative, trauma, and identity emerged throughout the day. Continue reading