Pat Massey is a first year PhD at the University of Manchester, in English and American Studies. His project title: 'New Orleans Exceptionalism in the Cultural Response to Hurricane Katrina'. His supervisors: Drs Natalie Zacek and Douglas Field. His handle: @MassalinesSt.

After Katrina: Race, Neoliberalism, and the End of the American Century

Over the last decade, Anna Hartnell has unofficially established herself as the UK’s leading academic on Hurricane Katrina. Her credentials include organizing a paired set of conferences in New Orleans and London on Katrina-related affairs, maintaining a Katrina-oriented blog, and writing multiple articles on visual/cinematic “Katrina texts”. Sadly, her full book-length study of Katrina falls short of its full potential. Continue reading

Booker Prize Americanism

Three years ago, our friends chez Booker changed house rules so that novels by North Americans became eligible for the prize. This provoked a backlash from certain contemporary observers, who augured Americans predominating Booker long- and shortlists going forward. Essentially, this hasn’t happened: two Americans making the six-strong shortlists of 2014 and ’15 is vanishing cause for concern. What this article explores is a corollary issue: whether an influx of American authors necessarily means an influx of an ineffable “American-ness”. Continue reading

Book Review: The Absence of America: The London Stage, 1576-1642 by Gavin Hollis

In Absence, Hollis discusses the picture of America circulated, he theorizes, by London theatres via “theatergrams” and “theatermemes”. Respectively, these terms comprise elements of character, scene, and situation; and shared allusions, ideas, catchphrases, and the like [3]. More precisely, Hollis discusses and tracks across plays: the ‘meme of the craven adventuring Virginian colonist; the ‘meme of cannibalism; the ‘meme of the displaced Indian; and the theatergrams of European males disguising themselves as Indians [27-9]. Continue reading

Fargo 1996, Fargo 2014, and the Art of Homage

“Homage”: the deliberate but respectful recreation of one work within another. Think of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, homage to Ms. Dalloway; the BBC’s Life on Mars and The Sweeney; the stairway shoot-out in The Untouchables and the Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin. They are all homage, yet all their own.

But contiguous with homage is plagiarism: disrespectful, deceitful, and what one expects prima facie of Noah Hawley’s Fargo. Continue reading

Finding “Native America” in Jazz: The History of “Native Sound” in Jazz throughout the Decades

To look at jazz’s preeminent players and albums, or its popular historical narratives, one would think a “Native American” had never picked up a horn. Indeed, finding Native Americanism in a so thoroughly African-American art form may seem offbeat even for jazz. Yet a “Native jazz” tradition does exist— has… Continue reading