Book Review: Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology by David H. Price

David H. Price’s Cold War Anthropology is gripping and unusual. The author has previously explored the significant role anthropology has played in military strategies in his 2008 book, Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War. This latest offering delves deeper underneath the surface in order to analyse the global post-war moment, and as such examines a cardinally different political context. 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

Champions of Compassion: The American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service and Cold War-Era U.S. Foreign Policy

In the context of the Cold War, writes Joshua Mather, policymakers proved eager to enlist voluntary agencies (and their supporters) in initiatives that enhanced the United States’ image abroad and showcased the altruism nurtured by a democratic, capitalist society. Fully aware of the global struggle for hearts and minds, American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc. leaders touted state-private humanitarianism’s value for U.S. foreign policy. By portraying Americans as deeply attuned to the needs of ordinary foreigners, and voluntary agencies as the collective embodiment of this concern, ACVAFS hoped to score a public diplomacy victory for the United States. Continue reading

Book Review: American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen edited by Sevan G. Terzian and Patrick A. Ryan

Building upon conversations within cultural and media studies, Terzian and Ryan have curated a collection that grapples with the relationship between intent and interpretation—between the way popular media images (mis)represent educational circumstances and the way such images shape how Americans have expected to see their educational surroundings. Continue reading

Review: IAAS Postgraduate Conference, ‘E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One’

One of the first panels of the morning, ‘Form and Function’, was quick to establish a material basis for the theme. All speakers were concerned in some way with the (in)stability of artistic media, especially the ways in which seemingly divergent forms might converge. Continue reading

Book Review: Stars, Fans and Consumption in the 1950s: Reading Photoplay by Sumiko Higashi

Sumiko Higashi’s Stars, Fans and Consumption in the 1950s is a book about popular imagery, namely those of the female icons of 1950s movies. Only this isn’t about the movies, rather Higashi’s text investigates the iconography of these women as it is shored up in magazines and on billboards, unveiling not only the rampant commodification of Fifties bodies, but also how and why they were so voraciously consumed. Continue reading

Film Review: Trumbo (2015)

It would be naïve to expect a biopic to comprehensively cover the competing interests, shifting alliances and distinct beliefs among those blacklisted, greylisted, or progressive Hollywood more broadly. However, Trumbo comes to conclusions about courage and cowardice without context and, as such, its oversights are worth exploring. Part of the problem is that Trumbo seems uncomfortable with Dalton’s politics. How else to explain a film with such a curious lack of interest in its protagonist’s beliefs beyond that in the sanctity of the First Amendment? Continue reading

Book Review: American Foreign Policy: Alliance Politics in a Century of War, 1914-2014, by James W. Peterson

Focusing his attention on the allied countries that fought on the side of the USA over the multiple wars in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and questioning whether without this considerable political and military support America could be considered as strong an opponent as it was, James W. Peterson discusses the reasons for American involvement in those conflicts. Continue reading