‘Can the Subaltern Play?’ Jazz as Voice in Boston, Massachusetts circa 1910 – 1949

One of the most interesting developments in contemporary subaltern studies has been its growing engagement with culture, particularly music. In 1988, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, in the context of postcolonial research, asked, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ which, through its focus on agency, inspired greater inclusiveness and self-critical research on the other, life on the margins, and unheard peoples. Since then, many scholars have engaged with the political consequences of Spivak’s question and used her essay as inspiration. Continue reading

Review: Bowie’s Books Conference

Few musicians, perhaps, have been so closely identified with literature than David Bowie. Marking just over a year since the artist’s death ‘Bowie’s Books’, organised by Professor Richard Canning and Dr Sam Reese, gathered scholars from a variety of backgrounds for an interdisciplinary conference on Bowie’s relationship with literature. Continue reading

In Memoriam: Mose Allison’s Blues

Column inches in 2016 have been filled by the obituaries of many famous figures including Leonard Cohen, Prince, and David Bowie. As such, Mose Allison, the cult jazz and blues pianist who left the stage last month, may not have received his fair share of recognition. Yet, the complex contradictions of his career and the transatlantic scope of his influence deserve further attention and reflection. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Crossing Boundaries: Challenging American Norms During the 1950s and 1960s’

In the second of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Natasha Neary reviews a panel featuring Simon Buck (Northumbria University) and Elizabeth Smith (Liverpool Hope University). 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

“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

Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’: A Complex and Intersectional Exploration of Racial and Gendered Identity

Much of Beyoncé’s career has been defined by an image that has spoken largely to notions of the form of ‘girl power’ and independence that we associate with the emergence of postfeminist popular culture in the 1990s. Largely conceptualised as a ‘non-political’ feminist discourse, manifestations of postfeminism in popular culture have been characterised by notions of choice, individualism and the re-commodification of femininity. Continue reading

60 Seconds With Katerina Webb-Bourne

Last month we invited you to spend 60 seconds with the new members of the U.S. Studies Online editorial team. Now the new members of the BAAS Executive Committee have kindly let us learn more about their lives, their interests, desert island books, and memorable moments… Continue reading

Book Review: American Hippies by W.J. Rorabaugh

Proclaiming its title against a bright, tie-dye backdrop in swirling, psychedelic font, the visual appearance of W.J. Rorabaugh’s latest work could be said to somewhat underplay the scholarly worth of its contents. This is, however, perhaps fitting given its subject matter. Where recognised at all as something separate and distinct from the era’s climate of activism, the counterculture has often been portrayed as a colourful, but ultimately frivolous sideshow within broad histories of the 1960s, and it is in this respect that the account offered by Rorabaugh differs. Continue reading