Indian Affairs Under the Obama Administration – An End to Broken Promises?

At the close of the eighth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference (WHTNC) this September, the President of the National Congress of American Indians, Brian Cladoosby (Swinomish), wrapped President Barack Obama in a traditional Pacific Northwest blanket and placed his own cedar hat on Obama’s head. Beaming, Obama addressed the … Continue reading

Primaries as Sports and Spectacle: Sports Metaphors in Twenty-First Century Presidential Primary Debates

‘The Brawl Begins’, an article about the 2016 primaries in The Economist provides the most overt manifestation of how a discourse of sports has permeated contemporary political reporting. Describing elections as a “jaw-dropping spectacle” or referring to the Iowa caucuses as the “opening round” in a political boxing match, a prime example of horse-race journalism, is particularly prevalent in presidential primary elections. Continue reading

“You Think I’m Joking”: The Weaponized Comedy of President Obama’s Stand-up Addresses at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

“Obama Out.” As President Obama finished his last stand-up comedy address at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, dropping the microphone to an ensuing mix of laughter and applause from the audience, a curtain fell on Obama’s considerable reshaping of this tradition.[2] The annual presidential comedy address at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has become an increasingly popular aspect of American culture. Continue reading

HOTCUS ‘Teaching America’ Introduction

When the idea was initially pitched during a committee meeting that the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS) could produce a series for U.S Studies Online outlining how the history of the United States was being taught at universities the hope was to showcase both the breath and … Continue reading

In Memoriam: Legendary Civil Rights Activist Julian Bond

Activist, Politician, Lawyer, Writer, Poet and Educator, Julian Bond’s social activism and his long-standing service includes as Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest civil rights organisation in America from 1998 to 2010.

Julian Bond would have been at the celebratory centre of my British Academy-sponsored conference on “Civil Rights Documentary Cinema and the 1960s: Transatlantic Conversations on History, Race and Rights”. Julian Bond embodied the conference theme, as a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and SNCC’s Communications Director from 1961-66.

Instead, the conference will take place in his honour and in his memory. Continue reading

Islam and Americanness as Antitheses in Contemporary Media Discourses

Tropes created by much of corporate media suggest an incompatibility of ‘Americanness’ and the American-constructed image of ‘Islam.’ Whereas islamophobic tendencies in the US public sphere have been evident for a while, current approaches in the media are reaching new degrees of bigotry by propagating an alleged Islamic threat and evoking an omnipresence of fear. The construction of ‘Islam’ works flexibly enough to perpetually represent an antagonism to ‘Americanness’ which needs to be resisted and fought. Continue reading

What We Learned: Organiser’s report on the 1st Americas Postgraduate Conference at the UCL Institute of the Americas

In part two of our 1st Americas Postgraduate conference double header the organisers James Hillyer, Anthony Teitler, Thomas Maier and William Sawyers offer some useful organising tips for next year. Continue reading

Haiti’s “horrid civil war”: The 1791 Haitian Revolution and its Legacy in America

Following the success of the American colonies in gaining their independence from Britain, an endeavour in which he had played no small part, Thomas Jefferson hoped that people of other nations would follow his countrymen down the road to political revolution. But the black republic of Haiti and its citizens became a national nightmare at this foundational moment of American history, and in many ways have retained that identity for over two hundred years. Continue reading

Conference Review (part two) of BAAS 2015, with Saturday Plenary

On the third evening of BAAS 2015 we were treated to an eloquent and passionate plenary from Professor Dana Nelson (Vanderbilt). Best known for her work on race in the nineteenth century (The Word in Black and White, National Manhood), Dana’s lecture ‘A Passion for Democracy: Proximity to Power and the Sovereign Immunity Test’, drew from her most recent work Bad for Democracy (2008). Continue reading