The Transnational as Civil Obedience

by guest author Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera

The turn toward transnational inquiry appeared revolutionary in the 1990s. But the pluralization of critical models into multi- or cross-national questions has forged only diminutive challenges to extant power structures. Indeed, the transnational is obedient to some of the principal myths of this age: that people believe in or identify with national material. Rather than transcending the slippery folklores of national idolatry and its cultures, the transnational reengages them in ways that do not intend to annul their relevance. In this way, the myth that “American” stories, narratives, and feelings inform people’s lives and cultures in a hybrid or direct way is a (if not the) fundamental presumption in the transnational turn, and it is also a fundamental weakness. Continue reading

Book review: Japanese American Ethnicity: In search of Heritage and Homeland across Generations by Takeyuki Tsuda

While the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is an established focus of historical study, little attention has been paid to Japanese Americans regarding their status as one of the longest-standing Asian minority groups in the US. Tsuda seeks to remedy this, and shows how historical events have influenced the perception of Japanese Americans over time. In this book he draws on first-hand accounts and his own interviews with Japanese Americans, which are helpfully synthesised to show differences both within and between each distinctive historical cohort. Continue reading

July #Bookhour: The Gringo Champion by Aura Xilonen (trans. Andrea Rosenberg)

For July’s #bookhour, Laura Linares, Leona Blair, Julia Hieske and Donna Alexander discussed The Gringo Champion by Aura Xilonen and translated by Andrea Rosenberg. During the course the discussion, topics included the narrative style and translation of the novel. Participants considered the ways in which language highlights cultural fluidity and issues … Continue reading

Review: Borders vs. Bridges: Nationalism and Transnationalism in the Americas

Centred on the contentious—and arguably diametrically opposed—concepts of borders and bridges, this two-day conference brought together forty-eight postgraduate and early career researchers from Europe, Asia and the Americas. National identity and transnational relations remained the presiding theme of the event, yet the broad scope of panels attracted scholars from a diverse range of disciplines; interweaving historical, ethnographic, literary and sociological approaches into a holistic Pan-American perspective. 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

My Research across Borders: Lonneke Geerlings

‘My Research’ is a new feature that aims to introduce and summarise the research of Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers within the field of American and Canadian Studies. Sit back, and get to know some of the craziest, challenging, and rewarding places researchers have been taken to… Continue reading

“FACTS TAKE A BACKSEAT TO MYTHS” – BREXIT FROM AN AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE. An Interview with Leif Johan Eliasson

As the UK is still waking up to a radically changed political, social and economic outlook, our European Relations Katharina Donn editor asked Prof. Leif Johan Eliasson for his take on the Brexit referendum. The author of America’s Perceptions of Europe (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) offers a sobering perspective on transatlantic relations in the face of populism, regionalism, and domino effects. Continue reading

Review: ‘Ideas and Transformations in the Americas’, UCL Institute of the Americas PG Conference

Interdisciplinary panels, ranging from the ‘Unheard Voices of the Caribbean’ to ‘Transnational Perspectives of the US’, stimulated lively debate and reflection between chairs and audiences. These, and others, engaged with a range of historical approaches and topics. Continue reading

Review: European Association for American Studies Conference 2016

To an historian – like myself – a panel entitled ‘Digitextualities – Spatialities, Fluidities, Hybridities’ seems perplexing at first, but the fact such papers could sit alongside those on nineteenth century slave history or modern American literature demonstrates EAAS’s inclusiveness. The exceptional coordination of such a large and international conference was a credit to the organisers. Continue reading

Storify of our #Bookhour on ON SUCH A FULL SEA by Chang-rae Lee

On Tuesday 5th April, Dr Andrew Tate, Dr David Bell, Dr Louise Squire and #bookhour organiser Dr Diletta De Cristofaro discussed Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea. The chat focussed on the defamiliarisation produced by the first-person-plural narration, on how the novel negotiates between the collective and the individual, on acts of resistance as well as the notions of utopia and hope within the text, on the narrative’s extrapolation from present circumstances and on what this extrapolation may suggest in terms of current ecological issues. Catch up on the chat in the storify here. Continue reading