On Breaking Dissertations, or How I Read Sideways

If a project claims to re-consider the American avant-garde and its racism, what impact does this have on academic practice as such? Mariya Nikolova argues that a critique of avant-garde movements is impossible without Black and Gender theorizations. Hence the need for a re-consideration of avant-garde’s underlying protocols. Form and formality are invariably linked to epistemological violence, to the way knowledge inhabits and inhibits understanding. Experimentation often entailed elitism, but dissidence experiments, too. This double grammar resuscitates avant-gardism and requires a careful attention. The white avant-garde claimed the former through the latter, and the fact that it did raises the question of form. When does form collapse? Is there a way to make this visible?Does a methodology exist that attends to practices of unreading and whether a White scholar could ever impede their own safety? How would self-sabotage appear in such an endeavour?
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Storify of #bookhour chat on THE MANDIBLES by Lionel Shriver

October 2016 marked our two year anniversary of #bookhour, and to celebrate this ongoing feature former U.S. Studies Online co-editor Michelle Green hosted a discussion of ‘financial crisis dystopia’ The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver with a panel of US and UK researchers. During the discussion Dr Kirk Boyle, Amy Bride, Sarah McCreedy and Michelle Green discussed Shriver’s depiction of material culture, emotions and capitalism, and to what extent the novel is a dystopia or plays with dystopian tropes. Debates arose around how self-conscious Shriver’s novelistic writing is, and if the novel is a Libertarian Candide or postmodern parody. The panellists ended the discussion by returning to The Mandibles as a neonaturalist novel, and left the chat asking, do the Mandibles achieve their capitalist utopia, and is a capitalist utopia achievable? Continue reading

Resisting First Nations Stereotypes in banned YA Novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

Since the book’s publication in 2007, Part-Time Indian has been ranked in the top five every year since 2010, reaching the top spot in the most recent list (2014). The reasons stated for the challenges include, but are not limited to; anti-family, cultural insensitivity, sexually explicit and depictions of bullying. However, Alexie “seamlessly layers class and racial identities on top of … more familiar adolescent struggles” ensuring that the novel can reach beyond the well-worn tropes of indigenous stereotype. Continue reading

US History as Myth-Busting

In the third post of the ‘Teaching America’ series Dr Andrew Hartman (Illinois State University), author of the forthcoming monograph A War for the Soul Of America: A History of the Culture Wars, discusses the ways in which graduate students can be encouraged to engage with ‘America as an idea’ in intellectual history modules. 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

Storify of our #bookhour twitter chat on GOD HELP THE CHILD by Toni Morrison

On Tuesday 30 June U.S. Studies Online co-editor Michelle Green (Nottingham) discussed Toni Morrison’s most recent publication God Help the Child with a panel of Morrison experts from the US and the UK. Catch up on the chat here. Continue reading

The Significance of “ME” (1915): The Literary Fame of Winnifred Eaton (Onoto Watanna)

Winnifred Eaton’s (Onoto Watanna) novel ME proved a turning point in literary history. Here is a book that is about a half-Asian woman (as readers might have suspected and certainly learned), and she is a half-Asian who is integrated in white society, upper and lower. 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

Round-up of our ‘Women in America’ blog series for Women’s History Month

Our “Women in America” blog series for Women’s History Month 2015 is now drawing to an end. We would like to thank the Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW) and the Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) who joined us in putting together this diverse and exciting blog series that ran for five weeks in total and included 16 posts. Here we have collected and summarised all of those posts. Continue reading