Review: HOTCUS Inaugural Work-in-Progress Meeting

University of Nottingham

Review: HOTCUS Inaugural Work-in-Progress Meeting, University of Nottingham, 19 October 2018 At the inaugural HOTCUS work-in-progress meeting, two developing journal articles were discussed: Dr Miguel Hernandez’s (University of Exeter) paper, ‘”The Menace of Modern Immigration”: Nativism and Violence in the 1920s Ku Klux Klan’ and Dr Alex Bryne’s (University of … Continue reading

Book Review: Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America by Jennifer Brier, Jim Downs and Jennifer L. Morgan (eds.)

This expansive and ambitious collection sets out to ask what the American past looks like when race and sexuality are the ‘animating questions’ (3), addressing a persistent failure in scholarship to integrate concerns about race and sexuality. Essays here span almost four centuries of North American history, from same-sex desire on seventeenth-century slave plantations to the mass marches of the 1990s and early 2000s. Continue reading

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery

University of Mississippi

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery, University of Mississippi, 22-26 July 2018 “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination, and career of William Faulkner?” This was the guiding question posed by the Call for Papers of this year’s annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, centered on the … Continue reading

Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950

Review: Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950, University of Kent, 17-18 July 2018 Dr Sara Lyons and Dr Michael Collins welcomed international contributors to the University of Kent to investigate how British and American novelists understood and represented the sciences of … Continue reading

Conference Review: Recovering May Alcott Nieriker’s Life and Work, Université Paris Diderot

This special guest review comes to us from Amelia Platt, a fifteen-year-old student from Litcham Comprehensive High School and a participant in the Brilliant Club, a charity that employs PhD students to tutor pupils from low-participation backgrounds. Amelia would like to thank her mentor, Azelina Flint, a doctoral candidate and AHRC CHASE Award Holder at the School of American Studies, University of East Anglia. 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

Book Review: An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley

In ‘An American Genocide’, Benjamin Madley analyses the devastating demographic decline of California Indians. California’s Native American population declined from about 150,000 people to 30,000 in the period 1846-1873. Madley draws heavily on the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. As he explains, this convention provides a powerful analytical tool to help scholars explain what happened to California’s indigenous people. Continue reading

Book Review: American Niceness: A Cultural History by Carrie Tirado Bramen

When the current U.S. president, as Bramen puts it in her wide-ranging cultural study, ‘epitomizes the bombastic chauvinism of the Ugly American’ (1), the concept of American niceness sounds at best like an out-dated but innocuous cliché and, at worst, like a dangerous fiction. As American Niceness sets out to prove, the trope of the kind and generous American has yet to fall out of fashion and the role that it has played in disguising a long history of ugly violence might account for its unstinting survival. Continue reading

Book Review: James and Esther Cooper Jackson: Love and Courage in the Black Freedom Movement by Sarah Rzeszutek Haviland

In this dual biography, Sarah Haviland traces the political and intellectual career of activist couple James and Esther Cooper Jackson. Utilising a combination of personally-conducted oral history interviews and archival material, she argues that an analysis of the couple demonstrates that communist-affiliated activists of the 1930s Popular Front era were able to adapt their activism and influence the trajectory of the modern civil rights movement that emerged in the 1960s. Continue reading

“Coward, take my coward’s hand”: Mudbound (2017) and the legacy of Hollywood’s anti-racist returning veteran films

On a dusty, unpaved main street veteran Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) leaves the local general store serving the outpost Mississippi Delta community near his brother’s farm. Suddenly, he drops to the ground. The noise of a car backfiring has returned him to his recent combat experience as a bomber pilot. As local men eye him suspiciously, help is offered in the form of the outstretched hand of Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell). The offer draws reproach from the onlookers for its disruption of local customs and hierarchy. It is 1946 and, while Jamie is white, Ronsel is black. Continue reading