Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Patriot or Protester?: Changing Ideas of Americanism during the Vietnam Era’

The concepts of patriotism and Americanism continue to constitute central facets of American national identity and thus remain important notions within the American political milieu. For example, on 1 September 2016, just eight days before this panel discussed the concept of Americanism during the Vietnam era, The Guardian reported on prospective president Donald Trump’s plans for American schoolchildren to be taught greater respect for patriotic values. In light of the recent election result, this is even more prescient. 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

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

Book Review: Masculinity in Contemporary Quality Television: The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture by Michael Mario Albrecht

Albrecht first assesses FX sitcom The League as a ‘bromance,’ and a show that ‘offers a hyperbolic version of contemporary masculinity,’ that suggests the concept is ‘an overdetermined term with multiple iterations and complexities, rather than… a simplistic essentialist version of singular maleness’ (42). He provocatively uses the language of ‘safe space’ to suggest how the virtual space of a fantasy football league is utilised to act out unacceptable performances of masculinity, safe from misinterpretation and consequences (46). 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

Book Review: American History through Hollywood Film: From the Revolution to the 1960s by Melvyn Stokes

As a scholar of film and television rather than history, I have often been uncomfortable with the ways in which moving images are treated by historians, as either uncomplicated windows into the past or a means to demonstrate the historical ignorance of Hollywood filmmakers. Continue reading

Enemies at Home: THE AMERICANS Season Three

For all its frequent use of Russian language (the extensive use of subtitles is striking in an American TV show) and Soviet protagonists, the heart of The Americans plays into the most mythic US trope of them all: the individual in the wilderness. Continue reading

Review (Part One) of IAAS Annual Conference

Usually in conferences, there are one or two panels that do not quite fit the theme. Not this year. Tied together by an excellent plenary from Dr. Lee Jenkins (University College Cork) it demonstrated the power that sight, surveillance, and vision possess on a multi-disciplinary scale. Continue reading