‘See America First’: International Expositions, Nationalism, and Local Competition

Using primary sources from ‘World's Fairs’ - an Adam Matthew collection

Enumerating the reasons why San Francisco rather than New Orleans should receive federal sanctioning for the 1915 exposition celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, this illustrated pamphlet urged readers to acquaint themselves with the wonders of the Pacific Coast and to “See America First”. As the first global gatherings of mass audiences, expositions – or world’s fairs – assembled the world in a single site. Continue reading

“In U.S. Cities or on Palestine’s Streets” – A Black-Palestinian Narration of Subaltern Geographies

In the audio-visual demonstration When I See Them I See Us, (2015) various Black American and Palestinian individuals and organisations forming the Black-Palestinian Solidarity movement express their apprehension of both groups’ subalternity by linking and remapping experiences between “U.S. cities” and “Palestine’s streets”. Continue reading

Review: Images of America: Reality and Stereotypes

In 1947 Harvard graduate Clemens Heller envisioned an academic community in which former enemies could discuss, analyse, and critique the culture of the United States as the new post-war superpower. Almost seventy years on and the Salzburg Global Seminar is still going, stronger than ever and attracting leading academics and professionals from major institutions across the world. Continue reading

My Research across Borders: Lonneke Geerlings

‘My Research’ is a new feature that aims to introduce and summarise the research of Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers within the field of American and Canadian Studies. Sit back, and get to know some of the craziest, challenging, and rewarding places researchers have been taken to… Continue reading

Review: ‘Writing Back: Subverting Dominant Narratives’

The ’Writing Back’ conference—engaging with contemporary politics and culture to often overlooked texts and media—provided an exploration of American identity which went beyond canonical texts and dominant areas of scholarly consideration. Continue reading

Review: ‘Ideas and Transformations in the Americas’, UCL Institute of the Americas PG Conference

Interdisciplinary panels, ranging from the ‘Unheard Voices of the Caribbean’ to ‘Transnational Perspectives of the US’, stimulated lively debate and reflection between chairs and audiences. These, and others, engaged with a range of historical approaches and topics. Continue reading

Night: Another Frontier in American Wilderness Studies?

In his groundbreaking book, At Day’s Close (2005), A. Roger Ekirch deftly reveals one of the significant differences between the pre- and post-industrial world: the overwhelming darkness of night in the absence of electric lighting. ‘Night brutally robbed men and women of their vision, the most treasured of human senses. None of sight’s sister senses, not even hearing or touch, permitted individuals such mastery over their environs’ (8). In a world of perpetual light, we post-industrialists have lost the sense of terror within the pre-industrialist’s night. Continue reading

Configuring The Dream Factory: Prince Fans and Destabilisation of the Album in the Digital Age

The speed with which ‘Prince’s ‘Vault’ of unreleased recordings was drilled into after his untimely death felt shocking to many. The existence of ‘The Vault’, a locked room within Prince’s Paisley Park recording complex, has been well known for decades and is believed to contain thousands of unreleased Prince recordings, as well as unseen music videos. However, the promise of authorising material that fans have been making their own for a considerable amount of time has refuelled discussion. Continue reading

Review: European Association for American Studies Conference 2016

To an historian – like myself – a panel entitled ‘Digitextualities – Spatialities, Fluidities, Hybridities’ seems perplexing at first, but the fact such papers could sit alongside those on nineteenth century slave history or modern American literature demonstrates EAAS’s inclusiveness. The exceptional coordination of such a large and international conference was a credit to the organisers. Continue reading

“Money, That’s What I Want”: Who Benefitted from the Crossover of African American Musicians in the 1960s?

Throughout the twentieth century, the American music industry was plagued by issues of race, segregation and inequality; much like America itself. As the century progressed, music became a significant indicator of race relations and a willingness within much of the United States to racially integrate. This is exemplified through the growing ability for African American musicians to crossover to mainstream audiences. Scholar, Phillip Harper defines the term ‘crossover’ as an act’s achievement of commercial success due to its appeal across racial boundaries Continue reading