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


01.03.19: Journal of Transnational American Studies newest issue out now (JTAS 9.1)
Journal of Transnational American Studies

Table of Contents | JTAS 9.1
Note from the Editor-in-Chief | Nina Morgan
Introduction by Issue Editors | Nina Morgan and Sabine Kim

Collecting Native America: John Lloyd Stephens and the Rhetoric of Archaeological Value
Christen Mucher (Smith College)

‘to transplant in alien soil’: Race, Nation, Citizenship, and the Idea of Emigration in the Revolutionary Atlantic
Westenley Alcenat (Fordham University)

Anticolonial Anti-Intervention: Puerto Rican Independentismo and the US ‘Anti-Intervention’ Left inReagan-era Boston
Eric D. Larson (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth)

‘Agrarians or Anarchists?’: Cuba Solidarity, State Surveillance, and the FBI as Biographer and Archivist
Teishan A. Latner (Thomas Jefferson University)

Foreign Means to Local Ends: Bialik, Emerson, and the Uses of America in 1920s Palestine
Nir Evron (Tel Aviv University)

Reprise Editor’s Note | Nina Morgan
“Benjamin Rush’s Travels Towards Peace”
David Bradley

Special Forum | Begoña Simal-González and José Liste-Noya

Introduction: Disrupting Globalization—The Transnational and American Literature
Begoña Simal-González (Universidade da Coruña)

Translational Form in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being
Claire Gullander-Drolet (Brown University)

Anthologizing ‘Little Calibans’: Surplus in Junot Díaz’s Linked Stories
Janet Zong York (Harvard University)

Mapping the Transnational in Contemporary Native American Fiction: Silko and Welch
Lori Merish (Georgetown University)

Exotic Arabs and American Anxiety: Representations of Culinary Tourism in Diana Abu-Jaber’s Crescent
Mandala White (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

Postethnicity and Antiglobalization in Chicana/o Science Fiction: Hogan’s Smoking Mirror Blues, and Sánchez and Pita’s Lunar Braceros 2125-214
Elsa del Campo Ramírez (University of Nebrija)

Being True to the trans-: Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand and the Transglobal Imagination
José Liste- Noya (Universidade da Coruña)

Forward Editor’s Note | Greg Robinson

Karen M. Inouye, The Long Afterlife of Japanese American Incarceration (Stanford University Press, 2016)
Rajender Kaur and Anupama Arora, India in the American Imaginary, 1780s-1880s (Palgrave, 2017)
Ana Raquel Minian, Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration (Harvard University Press, 2018)
Phuong Tran Nguyen, Becoming Refugee American: The Politics of Rescue in Little Saigon (University of Illinois Press, 2017)
Rachel Pistol, Internment During the Second World War (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)
Greg Robinson, “Eleanor Roosevelt in Montreal: Human Rights and Internationalism in World War II” (Bulletin d’histoire politique, 2018)
Claudia Sadowski-Smith, The New Immigrant Whiteness: Race, Neoliberalism, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States (New York University Press, 2018)
Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci, Contraceptive Diplomacy: Reproductive Politics and Imperial Ambitions in the United States and Japan (Stanford University Press, 2018)
Takayuki Tatsumi, “Origins of Originality: Poe—Hawthorne—Noguchi,” from Young Americans in Literature: The Post-Romantic Turn in the Age of Poe, Hawthorne and Melville (Tokyo: Sairyusha, 2018)

Article Abstracts
‘to transplant in alien soil’: Race, Nation, Citizenship, and the Idea of Emigration in the Revolutionary Atlantic
Westenley Alcenat
The emigration of African Americans to Haiti throughout the nineteenth century was influenced by the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Looking beyond this influence as mere legacy, this article proposes that scholars begin to interrogate the relationship that developed between African American Black Nationalists and Haitian allies. The article explores whether the emigration by African Americans to postrevolutionary Haiti during the nineteenth century was a political rejection of the US. Or was it an opportunity to explore the possibilities of democratic citizenship—the right to have rights—that only Haiti had to offer, in the hope of promoting genuine democracy in the United States, as well? Why, in spite of their insistence that they, too, were Americans, did some African Americans accept the invitation by Haitian revolutionaries to board a ship to the island republic? Black emigration, I argue, was not born of racial solidarity. Rather, it was the political consequence of racial exclusion.

Foreign Means to Local Ends: Emerson, Bialik and the Uses of America in 1920s Palestine | Nir Evron
In 1926, Haim Nachman Bialik, the premier poet and leading intellectual light of the Zionist movement, sailed for New York on a five-month-long fundraising mission on behalf of the yishuv, the pre-statehood Jewish settlement in Palestine. After his return, the poet gave a long speech in Tel Aviv, recounting his impressions of the United States before an audience of thousands. The America that Bialik presented to his listeners, this essay begins by arguing, should be read as tissue of widely circulating tropes and mythemes, which the poet had absorbed during his formative years in Europe as well as in the course of his 1926 tour. The essay then proceeds to discuss the uses to which the poet puts this (largely borrowed) narrative of American difference, focusing in particular on Bialik’s ambivalent response to the futural (largely Emersonian) ethos to which he returns time and again in his speech, and which he seems to simultaneously endorse and reject. The main part of the essay’s argument is devoted to making sense of this ambivalence, which I attribute to the diverging “temporal imaginaries” that underwrite Zionist and American exceptionalisms.

Anticolonial Anti-Intervention: Puerto Rican Independentismo and the U.S. ‘Anti-Intervention’ Left in Reagan-era Boston
Eric D. Larson
Scholars of the post-1968 transnational left have increasingly criticized liberal frameworks that suggest that transnational politics fundamentally revolve around solidarity relationships between full citizens of distinct nation-states. The literature on the movements that opposed US military and political intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s and 1980s has also shifted to better illuminate the fundamental roles migrants, refugees, politically targeted activists, and minoritized groups have played in contesting US intervention, particularly in Central America. This article adds a layer to that discussion by examining how diasporic Puerto Rican activists helped galvanize anti-intervention movements in Boston in the 1980s. It shows how El Colectivo Puertorriqueño de Boston (the Puerto Rican Collective of Boston) developed what I call a politics of “anticolonial anti-intervention” that directly related empire “over there” to racialized colonialism in the urban US. They grappled with what it meant to live in a colonial diaspora as they helped build anti-intervention organizing in Boston. They centered the demand for Puerto Rican independence yet linked it to their resistance to US intervention elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. They recalibrated independentista visions of self-rule, including through an updated version of community control, in the Reagan era. In doing so they challenged the implicitly white politics of rescue, aid, and deracialized Marxism that prevailed in much of Boston’s anti-intervention movement.

‘Agrarians or Anarchists?’: Cuba Solidarity, State Surveillance, and the FBI as Biographer and Archivist | Teishan A. Latner
In the late 1960s, as thousands of Americans traveled to Cuba to evaluate the nation’s evolving revolutionary process, the FBI launched a surveillance campaign designed to prove that travel to the communist island by US citizens represented a threat to national security. Focusing on the FBI’s investigation of the Venceremos Brigade, a radical humanitarian organization that sent delegations of Americans to Cuba as volunteers for agricultural and construction projects, this article evaluates the FBI’s claims that Cuba was indoctrinating leftwing Americans with revolutionary theory and training them in guerrilla warfare. But while state surveillance was intended to criminalize the Venceremos Brigade in legal terms and demonize it within the popular imaginary, it failed to reveal any prosecutable evidence of criminality. Instead, the FBI’s efforts inadvertently transformed it into the group’s clandestine biographer, as agents produced a substantial archive of print material on the group. Amassing thousands of pages of surveillance, including rare pamphlets and ephemera, the FBI’s unofficial archive unexpectedly confirmed the liberatory and humanist aspirations of the Brigade. Although there is a dearth of scholarship on the Venceremos Brigade, the longest-lived Cuba solidarity organization in the world, the FBI’s files remain the most extensive archive on the group ever produced, surpassing any university’s holdings. Files on the Venceremos Brigade illustrate the manner in which counternarratives can surface even within the body of the state’s archives on grassroots political movements, narratives that are potent enough to challenge the power of the state’s evidence deployed against them.

Collecting Native America: John Lloyd Stephens and the Rhetoric of Archaeological Value | Christen Mucher
This article focuses on the representations of Maya statues made by archaeologist-explorer John Lloyd Stephens and his artistic collaborator Frederick Catherwood in the 1840s. While Stephens’s and Catherwood’s trips to Central America, Mexico, and the Yucatán were meant to provide material objects for a Pan-American museum of Native American “antiquities,” the statues themselves were never exhibited to the public. Nonetheless, the visual and literary representations of the Maya “idols” circulating across North and Central America as well as Europe incited international interest and dramatically increased similar statues’ monetary value. Stephens’s valuation of Indigenous objects as possessable historical relics rested on the transformation of Indigenous bodies into laborers and Indigenous homelands into saleable property; their representation as mystical “idols” merely concealed this transformation. What is more, the historical and monetary value of the relics collected by Stephens was eventually surpassed by their textual reproductions. These representations—rather than the artifacts or communities behind them—set a persistent pattern for the study and evaluation of Native American “culture” as demonstrated by the textual afterlives of Stephens’s work.

Special Forum Abstracts
Postethnicity and Antiglobalization in Chicana/o Science Fiction: Ernest Hogan’s Smoking Mirror Blues, and Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita’s Lunar Braceros 2125-2148 | Elsa del Campo Ramírez
During the past decades, science fiction has evidenced an often-unacknowledged problematic brought to the forefront by advocates of alter-globalization: the future is (still) predominantly white, masculine, and globally built on indigenous exploitation. In the era of multinational capitalism, the trend towards an apparent postnationalism paradoxically risks leading towards what Lysa Rivera has described as a “Fourth World [which] promotes the ‘multiplication of frontiers and the smashing apart of nations’ and indigenous communities.” Simultaneously, the increase of ethnic transnational conflicts in a globalized world has prompted the pursuit of a utopian postethnic future that seeks social harmony but seems to be spiraling into the erosion of the American ethnic paradigm through the configuration of nonspecific and inconsistent ethnic categories, derived from the “lumping of all indigenous people into one category,” as Linda Alcoff claims. This paper aims at exploring the Chicana/o cultural and ethnic identity in the context of multinational capitalism through its articulation and dissolution in the realm of science fiction, where issues such as postethnicity and its intricate connection with corporate globalization are discussed. The study will focus on the analysis of two novels: Smoking Mirror Blues (2001), by Ernest Hogan, and one instance of what Catherine Ramírez has termed ‘Chicanafuturism,’ Lunar Braceros 2125-2148 (2009), by Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita.

Translational Form in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being | Claire Gullander-Drolet
Through a close reading of the tropes of interlingual and historical translation in Ruth Ozeki’s 2013 novel, A Tale for the Time Being, this essay argues that an attention to forms of translational work has important implications for transnational American studies, particularly in reorienting the field beyond its continental US and anglocentric bounds. Taking as its primary object of inquiry the “voluminous influx” of national, racial, and linguistic ‘otherness’ that David Palumbo-Liu describes as “a distinct feature of late twentieth century and early twenty first century age of globalization,” A Tale for the Time Being highlights translation’s central (and often acknowledged) role in shaping the ways in which that otherness is negotiated across geographical and temporal meridians. My reading of the novel’s translational form is twofold. I begin by considering the import of this intervention to the field of Asian American literary studies, focusing on how Ozeki mobilizes the formal elements of interlingual translation to push back against naturalizing conceptions of Asian / American identity. I then apply this translational framework to the divergent accounts of history in the novel and argue that—by calling attention to the fissures and gaps in these narratives—Ozeki offers a new model of empathic reading, one that draws herself and her readers together through a logic of “not knowing.” 

Being True to the trans-: Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand and the Transglobal Imagination | José Liste-Noya
To imagine the transnational within or as the outcome of a rapidly globalizing environment is to imagine, as Jean-Luc Nancy has proposed, the ambivalent “worlding” of the world. This notion tries to account for the currently polarized ambivalence of a globalized “totality,” a world where globalization effectively manifests itself in totalizing, hierarchical terms rather than in the shifting differential shapes of the “multiple” that it nevertheless brings into view. This dichotomy within the global or the transnational derives, perhaps, from the obdurate presence of the “national” conceived in still essentializing if not always geographically-centred ways that limit the transformative effect of the “trans-” itself. To truly imagine the transnational one might have to envisage the trans-global; much as the processes of globalization have revealed the intrinsic presence of the transnational within the national, perhaps a truly global view of the world, the world truly seen as a “globe,” is only possible from a trans-global perspective. The literary genre that most fully explores and envisions such possibilities is, of course, science-fiction, possibly the mode of fictional representation most attuned to the birth pangs of the (trans)global. The genre’s visionary tendency echoes the politically utopian imaginings of the transnational. It does so, however, in nuanced masterworks such as Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by imagining otherwise, employing the rhetorical and conceptual effects of science-fiction to both pose and question the socio-political and cultural-technological transformations that have given rise to the consciousness of the global but which have also been channeled into directions that impede a true dawning of the transnational. This essay will focus, then, on how the science-fictional imaginings of Delany’s 1984 novel presciently encounter and critically counter the limitations that characterize a transnational or global imaginary that resists still the uncontainable multiplicity of (a) world(s).

Mapping the Transnational in Contemporary Native American Fiction: Silko and Welch | Lori Merish
Revisiting the terrain of the 2012 JTAS Special Forum, “Charting Transnational Native American Studies,” this essay argues both that the transnational is a valuable, productive lens for understanding Native American literature, and that a consideration of Native American texts is indispensable to the “transnational turn” in Americanist literary scholarship. The essay argues that Native American literary texts engage the transnational in three ways: affirming “America” as transnational cultural space from its inception by staging ways Native cultures’ “dis-identif[y] with the nation”; affirming the transnational complexity of Native cultures; and registering Pan-Indian and indigenous transnationalisms vitally alive in the present. The essay advances these claims through readings of two recent historical novels by major Native American authors: Leslie Marmon Silko’s Gardens of the Dunes (2000), and James Welch’s The Heartsong of Charging Elk (2001).  Both novels are set in the late nineteenth century, a critical period in Native American history, especially in the American West; and both novels map complex itineraries for Native American characters who travel abroad, scripting transnationalism in diasporic terms. The essay argues that Silko’s novel portrays transnational encounter as global transindigeneity, casting the transnational as a vehicle to awaken and activate feminist and especially ecofeminist transindigenous solidarities, while Welch employs the form of the transnational bildungsroman to make visible tribal processes of cultural adaptation and transnational dimensions of tribal cultures at “home.”   

Exotic Arabs and American Anxiety: Representations of Culinary Tourism in Diana Abu-Jaber’s Crescent | Mandala White
In this essay, I examine the way in which Diana Abu-Jaber’s novel, Crescent, presents an exoticised Arabic culture and the relationship of this to a post-9/11 American culture eclipsed by anxieties about terrorism. I am primarily concerned with the text’s representation of what I call “culinary tourism”—its characters’ attempts to access culture (and Arabic culture in particular)—through eating. Food becomes a vehicle through which the text critically explores the dialectics of a post-9/11 American exoticism: the fear of a vaguely defined Arabic or Islamic culture, on the one hand, and the potential for its strangeness to be seen as fascinating on the other. I argue that Crescent is a conflicted novel that presents an exoticised representation of culture through its depiction of food, and yet cannot seem to wholly abandon itself to its own systems of exoticism. On the one hand, as I discuss in Part One of this essay, the novel’s representations of food are a vehicle through which it critiques its characters’ engagement with stereotypes, a mode of cultural interaction which Homi Bhabha argues is always afflicted by anxiety. However, on the other hand, as I discuss in Part Two of this essay, the florid language and imagery it uses in its representations of food reveal its reliance upon the same discourses of exoticism it critiques, and possession by the same kinds of anxieties about Arabic culture that afflict its characters.

Anthologizing “Little Calibans”: Surplus in Junot Díaz’s Linked Stories | Janet Zong York
Anthologizing stories from linked short story collections gives rise to a troubling tension. To select and curate a story in an anthology elevates it to paradigmatic status. Yet, linked collections are anti-paradigmatic: interweaving fragments, rejecting representative conventions and monolithic narratives, and producing a surplus of feeling and knowledge beyond individual stories. These qualities become obscure when reading a single story contextualized in an anthology. This tension is particularly evident with anthologization of authors like Junot Díaz, whose works are suspicious of neoliberal multiculturalism’s totalizing embrace, but whose inclusion as an ethnic, national, or world writer in different anthologies results in varied thematic framings specific to each. Juxtaposing the linked story in two settings, anthology and linked collection, expands scholarly conversations around emergent forms of transnational American literature. This article argues that linked collections preempt, primarily through formal means, the flattening and functionalizing of their stories into unified exemplars of multicultural diversity or universal experience. Examining stories from Díaz’s Drown and This is How You Lose Her alongside these same tales as framed in three Norton anthologies illustrates this possibility. Díaz develops a paradigm of surplus through stories connected by a sense of displacement. This surplus is a literary strategy that anticipates and addresses anthology curation’s effects and expectations. Rather than recuperating identity or loss to construct more unified notions of ethnicity, nation, or world, linked stories give shape to assembled fragments. They point toward a transnationalism invested in how narrative fragments of displacement and diaspora constitute an irreducible surplus.

» Read more

09.11.14: Call for Papers - Death in the Cityscape
Canadian Review of American Studies

Call for Papers - Canadian Review of American Studies
Death in the Cityscape

In contemporary literature, the intersection of the space of death and mourning within the confines of the city acts as a method of critiquing our understood modes of living. Since Plato’s Republic, the uneasy interplay of death and memorialization within the polis has been considered. Theorists like Gillian Rose in Mourning Becomes the Law and Sharon Zukin in Naked City have elaborated upon the discourse of space, death, and mourning within an urban setting. This issue of finding a space within the city for the dead remains with us, and recent American economic turmoil places the urban metropolis and its spaces of decay in sharp focus (seen in novels like Teju Cole’s Open City, television shows like The Wire and movies such as Synecdoche, New York). Where in the city is death (dis)allowed? Under what authority does the city, as a social nexus point, memorialize the dead? How does art work in concert with, or against, accepted practices of mourning and memorializing within the city limits? Can one mourn the passing of a city and, if so, how is this enacted? While this abstract focuses primarily on contemporary American work, we welcome papers related to any period of American urban history.

We invite scholarly articles on this topic in any genre of American studies. Submissions should be no more than 8000 words in length. Abstracts of no more than 250 words will be accepted until December 1, 2014. Completed articles must be submitted by April 1, 2015.

Send abstracts and submissions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Possible topics may include:
- Death’s relationship to identity in the American city
- American Cities Characterized
- Post-9/11 American Cities and Identity
- Death and Mourning in the City
- Death and Public Art
- Memorials and Public Mourning
- Urban American: Recession and After

- African-American
- Children’s Literature
- Cultural Studies and Historical Approaches
- Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies
- Ethnicity and National Identity
- Film and Television
- Gender Studies and Sexuality
- Interdisciplinary
- Literary Modernism
- Popular Culture
- Postcolonialism
- Postmodernism and Postmodern culture
- Theatre Studies
- Twenty-First Century Literature
- Visual Art and Culture

11.07.18: aspeers Call for Papers by American Studies Students at European Universities by 28 October 2018
aspeers: emerging voices in american studies

1) General Call for Papers

For the general section of its twelfth issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field of American studies, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 7,500 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is October 28, 2018.

2) Topical Call for Papers on “American Anger”

“If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention”—according to an Esquire/NBC News survey from 2016, “[h]alf of all Americans are angrier today than they were a year ago.” Statements like this mirror a perceived cultural and societal change that transcends simplistic partisan divides and has been accompanied by political battles and heated discourse. Though there has been an increased focus on anger in American public life following the 2016 election season, the mobilization of anger has a history that reaches back much further than current debates might suggest.

While anger is often targeted toward a specific group or specific policies, we want to avoid simple, binary conclusions. Rather, we wish to highlight why this emotion has gained such a prominent space in discussions of American culture and politics. In addition, we aim to go beyond a purely pessimistic outlook and are encouraging contributions that look further into either the positive effects of anger or productive responses to anger. In order to explore the breadth of this concept, it can be particularly helpful to not only focus on the current political situation but also on past and present literary explorations of anger and the manifestations of anger as a cultural practice.

For its twelfth issue, aspeers thus dedicates its topical section to “American Anger” and invites European graduate students to critically and analytically explore American literature, (popular) culture, society, history, politics, and media through the lens of anger in the US. We welcome papers from all fields, methodologies, and approaches comprising American studies as well as inter- and transdisciplinary submissions. Potential paper topics could cover (but are not limited to):

Explorations of anger in literature and in popular culture, e.g. in particular genres such as superhero narratives or protest movies, documentaries, mockumentaries, etc., or in various tones or modes, such as insults, mockeries, or denigrations.

Historical moments that saw a mobilization of anger, such as the anti-Vietnam War movement or the Civil Rights movement, as well as transnational dimensions (such as the transatlantic ‘spillover’) of anger.

The ‘racialized’ narratives of anger—e.g. the trope of the ‘angry black woman’ and the often-evoked image of ‘the angry white man’—as well as inquiries into the gender politics of anger, how anger is ‘gendered’ and how and why women and/or trans and nonbinary people are responding to or experiencing anger.

The economies of creating and circulating anger, e.g. news formats featuring punditry, polemics, etc.

Notions of ‘legitimate’ vs. ‘illegitimate’ anger and whether anger can be addressed in such terms at all.

aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse meanings of “American Anger.” We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the twelfth issue of aspeers by October 28, 2018. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general Call for Papers. Please consult our submission guidelines and find some additional tips at http://www.aspeers.com/2019.

10.25.17: Now out: JTAS’s Special Forum on La Floride française: Florida, France, and the Francophone World
Journal of Transnational American Studies

10.25.17: Check out important new and forthcoming scholarship excerpted in JTAS’s Forward section
Journal of Transnational American Studies

03.05.15: Polish Journal for American Studies
Polish Journal for American Studies

PJAS is a representative selection of recent Polish contributions to American literature and American studies. The 2014 issue includes 14 articles and 12 book reviews.

02.17.15: SYSJOH Issue38
Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities

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

08.13.13: aspeers Calls for Papers by American Studies Students at European Universities by 3 November 2013
aspeers: emerging voices in american studies

General Call for Papers

For the general section of its seventh issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 10,000 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is 3 November 2013.

Topical Call for Papers on “American Anxieties”

In her July 2012 Atlantic article “Trickle-Down Distress,” Maura Kelly argues that anxiety might well be considered a “peculiarly American phenomenon.” And in fact, the interrelation between American culture(s) and notions of individual and collective anxiety—from a sense of unease to the experience of crisis to full-blown panic—has proven to be a stimulating topic of interrogation. Accordingly, anxiety, understood not solely as a state, mood, or emotion but also as a phenomenon indicative of larger social dynamics and as a concept capable of performing cultural work, has continuously gained prevalence in scholarly debates.

aspeers will, therefore, dedicate the topical section of its seventh annual issue to “American Anxieties,” seeking to further explore the topic and the manifold scholarly opportunities and interpretative potential it offers for MA-level American Studies in Europe. Considering the wide range of disciplines that engage with anxiety in its overt and subtle forms, the topic lends itself particularly well to the inherently interdisciplinary approach within the field of American studies. Moreover, many traditional and more recent research foci of American studies can be read as sites of anxieties, thereby shedding light on previously disregarded connections between them. The following thematic clusters, then, might spark but do not delimit ideas for possible submissions:

  identity, culture wars, etc.

  (un)reliability, concepts of truth, role of the media, etc.

  terrorism, fundamentalism, conspiracy theories, anxiety as a disciplinary mode, surveillance/privacy, PRISM, etc.

  sexuality/gender, homophobia and trans*phobia, crises of masculinity, post-feminism, etc.

  nationalism, immigration, political extremism, gun legislation, the Cold War, etc.

  body image, ageism, ableism, etc.

  financial crises, poverty, class/status anxieties, Occupy, etc.

  ecocriticism, global warming, health- or food-related panics, etc.

  Civil Rights, hate crimes, the ‘post-racial,’ Trayvon Martin case, etc.

  hysteria, phobias, madness, neuroses, trauma, etc.

  artistic expression, sentimentalism, horror, gothic, the Other, etc.

aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, encourages fellow MA students from all fields to reflect on the diverse roles and meanings of anxieties in American culture. We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the seventh issue of aspeers by November 3, 2013. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general call for papers. At http://www.aspeers.com/2014 you can find additional information as well as our submission guidelines.

11.05.12: Ceasefire or New Battle? The Politics of Culture Wars in Obama’s Time
Canadian Review of American Studies

Special Issue - Ceasefire or New Battle? The Politics of Culture Wars in Obama�(tm)s Time
Canadian Review of American Studies 42.3, December 2012

Guest Editor - Fr�(c)d�(c)rick Gagnon

With the 2012 U.S. Presidential race in its closing stages, this very timely special issue aims to generate a deeper understanding of the U.S. culture wars. The issue contributes to the ongoing debates on whether or not there are culture wars currently underway in the U.S. and, if there are, who is waging these wars and what are the strategies and motivations behind them. The issue addresses four key research questions - Is a culture war really underway in America?; Is this ‘war�(tm) only between activists and politicians?; Who are the main actors in these wars and how do they try to reach their goals?; and Have we been witnessing a ceasefire in (or transformation of) America�(tm)s culture wars since Obama�(tm)s election in 2008?

This issue contains:

Introduction: Ceasefire or New Battle? The Politics of Culture Wars in Obama’s Time
Fr�(c)d�(c)rick Gagnon

DOI: 10.3138/cras.42.3.001

Crusade or Charade? The Religious Right and the Culture Wars
Graham G. Dodds

This article challenges conventional views about the Religious Right and the culture wars in the United States, as it contends that the general topic has often been distorted in important respects. Specifically, it advances several somewhat counter-intuitive claims. It contends that the Religious Right is neither a long-standing nor a monolithic entity; that it is currently relatively dormant; that cultural criticisms associated with religious conservatives are often not driven not by grass-roots populism but are cynically promulgated by mainstream Republican elites for electoral gain; and finally, that even when these efforts succeed electorally, conservative elected officials seldom enact policies that cultural or religious conservatives want. In short, much that has appeared in recent years to be a cultural crusade may, in fact, be a mere charade.
DOI: 10.3138/cras.42.3.002

After the Culture War? Shifts and Continuities in American Conservatism
John Dombrink

Following the 2008 American election, some analysts concluded that the election had signalled an end to the polarization and culture wars that had typified American politics. To some, demographic changes would cause this demise. To others, the moderating of religious groups was crucial. As social conservatives came to grips with the 2008 electoral defeats, some argued for emphasis on culture-war issues to revive their role. Sin No More (John Dombrink and Daniel Hillyard, 2007) had argued that, despite conservative rhetoric, the tide was turning on the core legal and moral issues of the American culture war, moving them toward normalization. It challenged the representation of America as a “centre-right” country. This article analyzes enduring and shifting elements of the American culture war: the broadening of the role of religion, the reduced salience of wedge issues, and the paradox that some forms of polarization are increasing as others are receding.
DOI: 10.3138/cras.42.3.003

Immigration and National Identity in Obama’s America: The Expansion of Culture-War Politics
Rhys H. Williams

The culture-war issues salient in US politics in the 1990s and early 2000s were typified by debates over the legality and morality of abortion and same-sex marriage. Immigration, in contrast, has been an intermittent issue, not as polarized as many others. That changed with the candidacy and then election of Barack Obama to the presidency. While anti-abortion and “pro-family” activism has continued, there is a new public focus on a vision of “America” that depends upon a conflation of race, religion, and national identity. This has helped transform immigration into a highly charged, highly polarized culture-war-style issue and has facilitated the lasting resonance of the construction of Obama as Muslim, as born in Kenya, as not a citizen, and as both a socialist and a fascist simultaneously. Drawing on popular media discourse and material from Tea Party and immigration reform web sites, I explore the construction of American national identity in terms of its ethno-cultural articulations.
DOI: 10.3138/cras.42.3.004

Understanding Culture Wars through Satirical/Political Infotainment TV: Jon Stewart and The Daily Show’s Critique as Mediated Re-enactement of the Culture War
David Grondin

Recent US culture wars have been waged through televised entertainment news (infotainment TV). The imprint left by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on mainstream news outlets has been analyzed in political communication studies and media studies. However, no one has so far made a case for Jon Stewart as a protagonist in these culture wars, especially because Stewart himself wants to stay clear of and set himself apart from them. This paper looks at the performativity of these culture wars in infotainment TV as the medium and locus where the culture wars are waged. While I recognize the crucial role played by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show in critiquing news-media coverage of American politics, I nevertheless contend that Stewart can also be seen as a culture warrior, albeit an unwilling one, and that, by giving him a voice, the medium of infotainment TV is turning him into such a warrior. My argument is predicated on the belief that satirical/political infotainment TV is an important locus of the culture wars and must be studied carefully because it plays a political role in mediating their re-enactment. Using this news-media satirical form as epistemological grounding, I first focus on how these culture wars play out in satirical/political infotainment TV and show that infotainment TV, because it is mediated as such, both critiques and re-enacts the culture wars and affects the American journalistic mediascape. I then examine satirical infotainment TV as political practice.
DOI: 10.3138/cras.42.3.005

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