Founded In    2006
Published   3/year
Language(s)   English
     

Fields of Interest

 

literature, culture, the arts and "American Studies," history, social sciences, and international relations

     
ISSN   1991-9336
     
Affiliated Organization   European Association for American Studies
     
Editorial Board

The Director of this publication is the President of the European Association for American Studies, Professor Philip John Davies, The Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, London davies@eaas.eu.

Editor for literature, culture, the arts and “American Studies”: Marek Paryż (Poland)

Associate editors

John Dumbrell (Great Britain)

Andrew Gross (Germany)

Roxana Oltean (Romania)

Jean-Yves Pellegrin (France)

Editor for history, social sciences and international relations: Jenel Virden

Book Reviews Editor: Theodora Tsimpouki (Greece) tsimpouki@enl.uoa.gr

Editor for web presence: Cara Rodway (Great Britain)

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

EJAS publishes both solicited and unsolicited articles. The editors also welcome proposals for special issues.

All submissions should be addressed to the Senior Editorial team in the first instance: Dr Marek Paryż (m.a.paryz@uw.edu.pl), Dr Jenel Virden (J.Virden@hull.ac.uk) and Dr Cara Rodway (cara.rodway@bl.uk).

EJAS publishes articles under the Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license. The full terms and conditions of the license can be viewed athttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/.

Articles must be in English. Contributions should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words, unless previous arrangements have been made with the editors. The article should be preceded by a short abstract. Bibliographical references and general presentation should follow the MLA style sheet for literature, culture and the arts, and the Chicago Manual of Style for history, social sciences and international relations. In-text references should be indicated in the typescript, between parentheses, by giving the author’s surname followed by the year of publication and a page reference if necessary.

All articles will be made anonymous and handed over to two referees whose reports shall be synthesized by the editorial team and provide the basis for acceptance or rejection. In both cases the author shall be given immediate notice. Reports will be provided to authors upon request. Even when an article is accepted, the editorial board reserves the right to ask for changes, both in form and scope.

     
Mailing Address
     

Marek Paryż (m.a.paryz@uw.edu.pl)
Jenel Virden (J.Virden@hull.ac.uk)
Cara Rodway (cara.rodway@bl.uk).

Contact person responsible for updating content for ASA:
Roxana Oltean (roxana.oltean@upcmail.ro)

European Journal of American Studies

EJAS is the official, peer-reviewed academic journal of the European Association for American Studies, a federation of 21 national and joint-national associations of specialists of the United States (http://www.eaas.eu) gathering approximately 4,000 scholars from 27 European countries.

EJAS aims to foster European views on the society, culture, history, and politics of the United States, and how the US interacts with other countries in these fields. In doing so the journal places itself firmly within the continuing discussion amongst Europeans on the nature, history, importance, impact and problems of US civilization. As part of this task, EJAS wants to contribute to enriching the contents, broadening the scope, and documenting the critical examination of “American Studies” in and outside of the United States. EJAS welcomes contributions from Europe and elsewhere and endeavors to make available reliable information and state-of-the-art research on all topics within its broad field of interest. As a matter of policy, the journal will pay particular attention to objects, phenomena and issues less documented or less often debated in the United States, as well as to innovative cultural modes and the diversity of reception of United States culture abroad. Associated with this outlook, it welcomes submissions that elaborate and renew critical approaches, paradigms and methodologies, and that express varied and pluralist views.

While intended for the entire American Studies community, EJAS aims in particular to provide space for the rapid publication of quality scholarship by doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. The journal hopes to constitute a genuine forum for European Americanists of all generations, national origins and disciplinary affiliations.

 

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Summer 2017, Volume 12, Number 2

Thinking Mythologically: Black Hawk Down, the "Platoon Movie," and the War of Choice in Iraq


While preparing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, President Bush invited his advisors to screenings of Black Hawk Down (2002). "Bush . . . told his aides that America's hasty exit from Somalia after 18 soldiers died in the 1993 raid made famous in the movie . . . emboldened America's terrorist enemies" to attack us on September 11. This study explains the ideological force of Black Hawk Down by framing it as the culmination of developments in American national mythology, and the mass culture genres that carry it. The "Platoon Movie" developed during WW II propagated a new myth of multi-ethnic American nationality, and a "war imaginary" which figures WW II as the "Good War." That myth was discredited by defeat in Vietnam; but starting in 1980, American war films, and war-themed science fiction films, seconded the work of neo-conservative policy makers to recuperate the "war imaginary." This entailed a sharpening of racialist interpretations of international conflict, and tension between the multicultural symbolism of the "platoon" and the idealization of Whites as "real Americans."

"Who Can Estimate the Value of a Book!": Buying and Owning Books in Antebellum Domestic Fiction


This paper explores the role of books in American antebellum domestic fiction. Written primarily for middle-class readers, domestic fiction offers advice on how to create an ideal home and in these ideal homes the presence of books is necessary. In an era plagued by a volatile national economy, monetary assets proved an unstable basis for class affiliation. Domestic fiction, however, presents the ownership of books as an alternative foundation for class status. As a result, rather than being based on economic resources, which might lose value overnight, thus causing a plunge on the social ladder, in these tales, middle-class status transcends economic status as it becomes synonymous with the ownership and appreciation of books and the personal qualities books were expected to foster.

Dickinson’s Ear


This essay pursues the reference to and role of hearing in Emily Dickinson's poetry. To do so, it studies the 45 Dickinson poems with the singular noun Ear, in its transferred sense as a figure of aural perception. Reading these poems as a set lets us build a model of Dickinson's Ear, and the model illuminates the interiorizing motion and the signature resonance in her poetic of hearing. The essay develops the model and the poetic in explication of the poems with Ear, and in its last section conceives the Dickinson auditorium, a space for hearing the sounds in her poetry. As it unfolds, the essay takes the measure of Dickinson's aural senses of the world and of language, as they arise in poems evoking a wide range of experience.

"Un-American Confessions": Translation as Subversion in Robert Lowell's Life Studies (1959)


This article argues that Robert Lowell's employment of techniques of poetic "imitation" - a liberal form of translation - during the composition of the Life Studies poems allows him to simultaneously stage and to conceal his reliance upon foreign poetic sources. Lowell's Life Studies imitations thus represent an attempt to "cover-up" poetic collusions with foreign sources at a time when cold war "containment culture" and the specter of McCarthyism threatened to render any such collusion increasingly suspect, if not entirely "Un-American." The Life Studies imitations, by this account, offer furtive testimony to Lowell's potentially subversive poetic preoccupation and engagement with cold war cultural anxieties circulating around terms such as containment, conspiracy, domesticity, paranoia, security, secrecy.

"Reinvent America and the World": How Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Books Cultivated an International Literature of Dissent


American poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti became a Cold War conduit for the publication and proliferation of postwar avant-garde and dissident poetry. In this essay I tell the story of how Ferlinghetti and his bookstore and press City Lights in San Francisco, California helped popularize international dissident poetry in the United States. This effort, I argue, was contingent upon the relationships Ferlinghetti cultivated with many international poets and translators between 1954-1972. From archival sources such as Ferlinghetti's personal letters and City Lights Books records, I construct a narrative that reveals the perils and pleasures of translating, editing, and publishing dissident poetry during the Cold War.

Being Geniuses Together: Ghostwriting and the Uncanny of Robert McAlmon's and Kay Boyle's (Out of) Joint Autobiography


Kay Boyle's supplementary edition (1968) of Robert McAlmon's Being Geniuses Together (1938) is a self-deconstructive survey of the expatriate community of English and American writers and artists in Paris in the 1920s. Boyle's version prompts questions about originality and autobiographical truth through the way in which her chapters are alternated with McAlmon's chapters in a post-mortem "dialogue" or ghostwriting experiment and frequently seem to bracket or undermine his version of the "same" story. I am interested in the way in which self-writing and autobiography in general, and in particular experimental forms of collaborative, queer, or "mock" autobiography, have been used to conjure up supposedly True Stories of the Lost Generation and literary Modernism. Few crowds are as famous, as notorious, as surrounded by myth, as extensively written about in various more or less autobiographical texts, as the "in" crowd of writers, artists, critics and publishers in Paris in the 1920s. The story of Modernism, often a form of contemporary self-definition, has been told and retold and contested in a chorus of autobiographical and biographical discourses competing for the right to present the True Story. In my article, I explore how McAlmon and Boyle present their shared experiences of being American writers in exile in Europe in ways which are sometimes similar and sometimes widely divergent.

The End of The Road


The closing paragraph of Cormac McCarthy's The Road hums with mystery. Some find it suggestive of renewal, though only vaguely. Others contend that it does little to ameliorate the novel's pessimism. Still others find it offers both lamentation and hopefulness, while some pass it over in silence. As an admirer with a taste for puzzle solving, here I offer a new interpretation revealing a surprisingly optimistic denouement.

(Un)homely Dwellings: The Usher House and the Collyer Mansion


In this paper, I analyze E. L. Doctorow's 2009 novel, Homer & Langley, through the lens of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Fall of the House of Usher." While there has been a recurring claim about the significant similarities of Doctorow's work to some of the tales by Edgar Allan Poe, there has been no critical reading that draws the connection between this novel and Poe's famous tale. Doctorow deftly manipulates Poe's favorite gothic connection between architectural construction and the psychological experience of characters to explore notions of home and domesticity in an increasingly urban America through a reconfiguration of the legendary Homer and Langley Collyer. In Doctorow's novel, the Collyer brothers are not the obsessed hoarders or the models of American consumerism par excellence, as the urban myth describes them. On the contrary, they become paradigms of dwelling with alertness in the Heideggerian sense, the embodiment of an escapist mentality in a culture driven by mundane prosperity and social compliance.

Satirical Frame of Mind: Ken Kalfus's A Disorder Peculiar to the Country and the Literary Engagement with 9/11


Prompted by debates on the role of comedy in the USA after 9/11, the essay explores the use of satire as one important narrative strategy that emerged in the subgenre of the American 9/11 novel. Criticism of 9/11 fiction tends to regard literary satire as a device used to counter governing descriptions of twenty-first century terrorism. By way of Ken Kalfus's A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (2006), I show how literary satire on 9/11 is neither straightforward nor merely a means of political attack. Drawing on recent satire theory that views the satirical mode as unruly, various, and open-ended, I suggest that a closer look to the mixed intentions of this novel presents an opportunity to explore the dynamic between denunciation and comic relief in literary satire on 9/11 and opens the way for a more complex understanding of the operation and affordances of literary 9/11 satire.

"Cancer was an alchemist": Eve Ensler's Experiences of Vulnerability in In the Body of the World


This article analyzes Eve Ensler's experiences of vulnerability as they are related in her 2013 memoir, In the Body of the World. While the book illustrates "traditional" or etymological vulnerability, resulting from trauma and cancer, it also exemplifies what American philosopher Erinn Gilson calls "epistemic vulnerability," i.e. vulnerability not as weakness but as potential. As both illness and trauma narrative, Ensler's memoir also offers an opportunity to question the dichotomy between disability and trauma studies.

(Re)visiting Black Women and Girls in the Cinematic Hood: "Who you callin' a hoe?"


This paper analyses two recent ghetto action movies: Dope (2015) and Straight Outta Compton (2015). It argues that in returning to the cinematic hood in 2015, it is necessary and logical to revisit literature surrounding Boyz N the Hood (1991) to assess if images of black women and girls have evolved in contemporary films. When the narrative is preoccupied with the black boys in the hood, are they still raised by their single black (angry) mothers and are young black women still left to question "Who you callin' a hoe?" These questions will be answered through an examination of the representations of gender and race in all three films.

"The Old Wild West in the New Middle East": American Sniper (2014) and the Global Frontiers of the Western Genre


Clint Eastwood's war film American Sniper (2014), based on the autobiography of (in)famous Navy Seals sniper Chris Kyle, was met on release with considerable commercial success and political controversy. This article investigates how through adopting generic structures and binary oppositions of the classic Western film American Sniper succeeds in evoking a sense of "frontier mythology." By generically restructuring historical events, American Sniper analogizes the Iraq War with the mythic struggle of civilization/wilderness and portrays Kyle as a trailblazing frontiersman leading the way to Western expansion. Such a mythical conception of the Western genre operates as a political frame through which a jingoist discourse on the Iraq war is reaffirmed and within which audiences can interpret the conflict -- and the undertaken military measures -- as necessary and just.

Towards a Queer Futurity: New Trans Television


While gay and lesbian characters have a steady presence in American television series by now, this is not the case with transgender persons. Although there is a significant number of shows with such characters, sometimes even in leading roles, this still is a marginal phenomenon. Casting debates, depictions of sexual violence and transphobic harassment, generational conflicts, non-normative sexuality, and family constellations are amongst the most pronounced issues to be discussed, when asking for a queer futurity that these series possibly envision. Have series such as Transparent, Orange Is the New Black, The L-Word, or Hit & Miss started to exploit such a potential? The paper aims at both an assessment of the status quo of transgender representations in current television series and at evaluating their respective aesthetic and political potential for a re-queering the American nation under the sign of transgenderism.

An Exploration of Marilyn Manson as a Transgressive Artist


This article explores how Marilyn Manson functions as a transgressive artist, in order to demonstrate how his persona, music, and music videos cross social, cultural and moral boundaries. In contrast to existing definitions of transgression as a synonym for the breaking of taboos, commonly used in critical interrogations of extreme music, I define transgression as the (re)construction of social order by means of boundary negotiation. I therefore do not read Manson's work as political radicalism or anti-social shock, but as a creative process which (re)constructs the ideologies it appears to attack. The article explores three areas in which this (re)constructive aspect of transgression is most evident. Firstly, I explore how Manson's work functions as a liminal rite-de-passage for adolescents to facilitate a successful transition into adulthood. Secondly, I study how Manson crossed over into the mainstream during the Mechanical Animals-era, and how his relationship with the media affected his negotiation of the mainstream-underground boundary. Finally, I trace how his flirtations with Satanism (re)construct and maintain social order. Manson's transgressive quality, I argue, lies primarily in his ability to expose how American society is (re)constructed and maintained through the crossing and renegotiation of its own limits.

Why So Silent? The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment Debate After DC v. Heller


In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) the Supreme Court appeared to give to gun rights activists what they had campaigned for since the 1970s: a ruling that the Second Amendment encompassed an individual right to bear arms for the purposes of self-defence.  But as the debate about gun rights returned to the top of the political agenda in the United States as a result of a series of high profile mass shootings in 2015 and the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, two things became clear: that Heller had not ended the political or legal debate about Second Amendment rights and that the Supreme Court had been noticeably absent from the debate since applying the Heller ruling to the states in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.  This article argues that, far from the success claimed by gun rights supporters, the consequences of Heller fundamentally undermined some of their key arguments and forced a shift in the nature of the debate.  Both worked to keep the Supreme Court away from the debate at a time when greater clarity about the meaning of Heller was needed.

The Fight to Bear Arms: Challenging the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution as a Sacred Text


This article examines the manner in which constitutional law in the United States serves to preserve, accentuate and institutionalise what Robert Bellah referred to as the 'Civil Religion' of the nation (1967). As the U.S. Supreme Court manages the evolution of the nation, it does so through an institutional deference to the authority of the nation's founders. The United States is not unique in the glorification of the nation's 'Founding Fathers'. It does, however, stand alone in the manner it seeks to maintain a temporal connection with these iconic national figures through the law and the interpretation of that law. U.S. constitutional law seeks to reiterate and reproduce the principles of the Founding Fathers and the ideals that they espoused. This fact is explicated in this article through an examination of the case of the District of Columbia v Heller (2008). This article seeks to account for two key nationalistic phenomena in the United States relating to constitutional law and the U.S. Constitution's infamous Second Amendment. Firstly, the profound institutional reverence for the national heroes that first begat the nation. And, secondly, a precise hermeneutical deference to those Founding Fathers - in law - that is largely unmatched in the developed world.

Martin Luther King’s Reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis


This research article deals for the first time with the reaction of Martin Luther King Jr. to the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. In doing so, it also presents a document of special relevance: the draft of a previously-unknown private letter from dr. King to President Kennedy, in which the civil rights leader praised Kennedy's management of that crucial nuclear confrontation between US and USSR and saw in it the potential for détente. The paper reflects on the elements currently available for the interpretation of this piece of evidence and, with regard to the relationship between the two leaders, it argues that the way Kennedy handled the Cuban crisis may well have played a role in Dr. King's reassessment of Kennedy's evolving qualities of leadership - a view that King will further develop over the course of 1963 (in the most fruitful months of their cooperation) and will express after Dallas.

'Smooth' and 'Alternative' Patriotisms: Chicago and the decline of a civil rights strategy


This article forwards and explores the idea that a significant ideological characteristic of the civil rights movement was the concept and use of an 'alternative patriotism.' After exploring its value as a lens through which to view King and the movement, and the 'smooth' patriotism that they were pitted against, the article discusses how the open-housing campaign in Chicago witnessed a fundamental shift in how the strategy was utilised. This represented a broader concern in social and human rights, and helps an understanding of the move toward a more 'militant' position from 1966 onwards.

It's Just a Jump to the Right: The Tea Party's Influence on Conservative Discourse


This study analyzes the correlation of rhetoric usage by members of Congress who were supported by the Tea Party political movement with changes in mainstream conservative political discourse. The rhetoric of these politicians after the Tea Party's ascendance in the 2010 congressional elections was compared to the rhetoric used by the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Republican nominees to understand the correlation with other changes in conservative discourse. I studied this discourse shift using speech analysis to code for instances of negative discourse and establish a comparison between these election years while also noting rhetorical shifts evident among mainstream conservative politicians.

Other Issues

EJAS 12.3 2017 Special Issue: Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds , Volume 12, Number 3
Summer 2017, Volume 12, Number 2
EJAS 12.1 Spring 2017 Special Issue: Eleanor Roosevelt and Diplomacy in the Public Interest, Volume 12, Number 1
EJAS 11.3 2016 Special Issue: Re-Queering The Nation: America's Queer Crisis , Volume 11, Number 3
EJAS 11.2 2016, Volume 11, Number 2
EJAS 11.1 2016 Special Issue: Intimate Frictions: History and Literature in the United States from the 19th to the 21st Century, Volume 11, Number 1
EJAS 10.3 2015 Special Issue: The City , Volume 10, Number 3
EJAS 10.2 Summer 2015 Special Issue: (Re)visioning America in the Graphic Novel, Volume 10, Number 2
EJAS 10.2 Summer 2015, Volume 10, Number 2
EJAS 10.1 Winter 2015 Special Issue: Women in the USA , Volume 10, Number 1
EJAS 9.3 2014 Special Issue: Transnational Approaches to North American Regionalism, Volume 9, Number 3
EJAS 9.2 Summer 2014, Volume 9, Number 2
EJAS 9.1 Spring 2014, Volume 9, Number 1
EJAS 8.1 2013, Volume 8, Number 1
EJAS 7.2 2012 Special Issue: Wars and New Beginnings in American History, Volume 7, Number 2
EJAS 7.1 Spring 2012, Volume 7, Number 1
EJAS 6.3 2011 Special Issue: Postfrontier Writing, Volume 6, Number 3
EJAS 6.2 2011 Special Issue: Oslo Conference, Volume 6, Number 11
EJAS 6.1 Spring 2011, Volume 6, Number 11
EJAS 5.4 2010 Special Issue: Film, Volume 5, Number 4
, Volume 5, Number 3
EJAS 5.2 2010 Special Issue:The North-West Pacific in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Volume 5, Number 2
EJAS 5.1 Spring 2010, Number 5, Volume 1
EJAS 4.3 2009 Special Issue: Immigration, Volume 4, Number 3
EJAS 4.2 Autumn 2009, Volume 4, Number 2
EJAS 4.1 Spring 2009, Volume 4, Number 1
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2008-2,