Review: HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference 2018

University of Nottingham

Review: ‘Uses and Abuses of the American Past’, HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference, University of Nottingham, 20 October 2018 ‘Uses and Abuse of American Past’, held on 20 October this year, addressed a variety of contemporary issues. Like the BAAS conference on 1968, scheduled just two weeks later, this conference … Continue reading

Book Review: The FBI in Latin America: The Ecuador Files by Marc Becker

While scholars have devoted considerable attention to CIA activities in Latin America during the Cold War, they have spent less time examining intelligence-gathering before 1947, when the CIA was created. Marc Becker, currently Professor of History at Truman State University and author of several books on Ecuador, argues in The FBI in Latin America that scholars need to study FBI operations in Latin America in the 1940s. Continue reading

Review: Pursuing the Rooseveltian Century

Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Middelburg, The Netherlands

Pursuing the Rooseveltian Century, 31 November – 1 December 2017 The two-day conference ‘Pursuing the Rooseveltian Century’ was the inaugural conference of the recently rebranded Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS) located in Middelburg, the Netherlands. The conference called on scholars of American studies to reinterpret important moments in modern … Continue reading

Book Review: Irish Nationalists in America by David Brundage

David Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). pp.312. $36.95. £26.49. Irish Nationalists in America provides a thorough survey of centuries of Irish nationalist politics, distinctions in the Irish diaspora, and transnational cooperation. It is a valuable contribution to scholarship on the … 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

Edward S. Morse: A look at Meiji Japan

Using primary sources from ‘Meiji Japan' - an Adam Matthew collection

From 1633 until 1853, the military governments of Japan enforced a policy of sakoku or ‘closed country’ which prevented foreigners from entering Japan on penalty of death, and prohibited Japanese citizens from leaving. This isolationist period was brought to an abrupt end in July 1853 when American Commodore Matthew Perry steamed four warships into Tokyo bay and threatened to open fire unless the Japanese agreed to enter into trade negotiations. 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

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