55 journals in 25 countries

The Confession of an Uncontrived Sinner: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

By Małgorzata Grzegorzewska
Polish Journal for American Studies

Brilliant phenomenological analysis of the ticking sound in Poe’s story.

Recent Articles


12.08.14: Canadian Review of American Studies - Volume 44, Number 3, Fall 2014
Canadian Review of American Studies

Philip Roth’s Mock Lincoln
Brian J. McDonald
This article considers the core political ideas that animate Philip Roth’s McCarthy-era novel I Married a Communist through a critical analysis of the novel’s central character, Ira “Iron Rinn” Ringold. It argues that, with Ira, Roth dramatizes the ambiguity that surrounds both the Lincolnian ideal of individual self-determination and the intractable presence of betrayal in the theory and practice of American liberal democracy. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.035

Interwoven Colonial Histories: Indigenous Agency and Academic Historiography in North America
John Munro
Inspired by a recent call for greater integration between histories of capitalism and of Indigenous peoples in the United States, I argue that scholars across American studies should take stock of the ways in which Indigenous history pertains to fields beyond economic history. This article emphasizes Indigenous agency and activism to historicize how Aboriginal history has become (somewhat) more prominent in American studies. In reviewing some of the literature that has helped bring about this still incomplete shift, I look at developments in the settler states of the United States and Canada in order to highlight their shared colonial structures. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.037

America on Parade: Thrill’s Affect-Zone and the 2012 NBC Super Bowl Broadcast
Peter Pappas
As a composite consumerism-entertainment phenomenon, the engaging atmosphere of NBC’s 2012 Super Bowl broadcast transcends pure athletic contexts. Thrilling affective intensity saturates the greater performance—integrating sports fandom, patriotism, brand loyalty, celebrity interest, and other compelling narratives—all framed by a pageant of global corporations pitching visions of universal consumerist prosperity. As a consequence, a variety of intra-appropriations between elements of spectacle and of the everyday serve to catalyse appealing instantiations of American socio-cultural identity. The present case study investigates the ways in which a multifaceted, permeating thrill enhances the broadcast event’s societal presence, while simultaneously reifying its cultural representations. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2013.038

Transcending Distances: A Poetics of Acknowledgement in Melville’s “Benito Cereno”*
Yoshiaki Furui
This article examines Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” as a transnational text by centring on two key words: the verb “transcend” and the noun “distance.” Through analysis of the trope of distance, this article aims to shed light on a way of imagining the alterity of the other that “Benito Cereno” presents to twenty-first century Americanists. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2014.002

“No Hostages through These Doors”: Thomas Bartlett Whitaker’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and the Politics of PEN
Ira Wells
PEN International, one of the world’s first human rights organizations, has long defended the free speech of persecuted writers. The PEN Prison Writing Program, however, has a slightly different agenda, which is to help convicted criminals become writers. The PEN Prison Writing Program “believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing” and encourages “the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power.” But what is the nature of the “power” of the written word? And what, moreover, will this power restore and rehabilitate? When PEN proclaims the “power” of the written word, are they honouring an important strand of America’s liberal intellectual heritage? Are they pledging allegiance to a romantic coupling of art and freedom? Are they inadvertently helping to bind prisoners ever more insidiously to the carceral regime? Or are they claiming something that is actually true? This article addresses these questions through a reading of Thomas Bartlett Whitaker’s prize-winning essay ” DOI: 10.3138/cras.2014.001

Construction du discours alarmiste sur l’invasion latina aux États-Unis. L’instrumentalisation de la situation québécoise
Catherine Vézina
Since the end of the 1960s, discourse concerning Mexican immigration to the United States has become more alarmist. In the past few decades, references to the “latino invasion” and the fear of a reconquest of US territory by the “Mexican hordes” have entered the American collective imaginary. At the same time, north of the Canadian/US border, Quebec nationalism, which is perceived as a threat to Canadian unity, became a major issue. This article focuses on how the “Quebec metaphor” is used in the United States to strengthen an anti-Mexican discourse. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2014.007

Suburbia’s Alien Reek: Contract and Relation in John Cheever’s Bullet Park
Joseph George
Since its establishment in the waning years of World War II, the US post-war suburb has connoted inauthenticity and conformity. But the understanding of authenticity implicit in this characterization presupposes an individualist notion of selfhood and a contractualist approach to social relations—presuppositions that, in turn, lead us to anticipate the very conformity also associated with inauthenticity. This article argues that the fiction of John Cheever adheres, not to the Romantic individualism that underlies normative views of suburbia, but to the process of identity formation described by Martin Heidegger, one that emphasizes relation to the present and factual. Accordingly, it claims that Cheever’s 1969 novel Bullet Park imagines suburbia as a prime space, not for inauthenticity and conformity, but for difference and intersubjectivity. DOI: 10.3138/cras.2014.008

Sunbelt Scholarship and Silos
Lucas Richert
The last five years have witnessed a series of books exploring the post-World War II rise and growth of the American West and South, an area of the United States sometimes called the Sunbelt. The term, coined in1969 by Kevin Phillips, identified a rather amorphous region that was undergoing rapid transformation and was, therefore, vital for long-term Republican electoral success. However, scholars do not universally accept the “Sunbelt Phenomenon,” nor has the concept produced intellectual consensus. Instead, authors are now rethinking previous methodologies about the United States after World War II and reformulating the configuration of social, political, and economic categories of analysis. The Sunbelt concept is now being renegotiated. In recent years, works by Michelle Nickerson and Darren Dochuk; Jeff Roche; Elizabeth Tandy Shermer; and Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian Zelizer have signalled the energy of the debates as well as the evolving literature as a whole. Problematically, as much as this new literature shows expansion, the scholarship also demonstrates a small, though consequential, silo mentality. DOI: 10.3138/2014.006