‘Malign Living Structures’: Functions of the Survey Image in “Soil Erosion – A National Menace” (1934)

This article is part of the USSO special series Resilience/Renewal: Shifting Landscapes in American Studies The land survey photograph, as represented by the first two pictures here, is a category of image that circulated widely in scientific journals and official publications during the 1930s. Severe droughts and dust storms between… Continue reading

A Nuisance to the University: Why People’s Park is Facing Oblivion

This article is part of the USSO special series Resilience/Renewal: Shifting Landscapes in American Studies Visiting People’s Park in Berkeley, California, for the first time, as I did in September of last year, is a visually arresting experience. As I walked through the park’s entrance on Dwight Way, just south… Continue reading

“Eternal Confusions in Another World”: American Captives and Imperial Vulnerability in Algiers

“We are Distressed for you, O our BRETHREN, We are Distressed for you!” (3) Puritan minister Cotton Mather thunders in the opening of his “Pastoral Letter to the English Captives, in Africa” (1698). The letter addresses American captives in North Africa,[1] but Mather’s concern for their personal safety is only… Continue reading

Political Identity in the Crossroads of America: Swing States, Campaign Presence, and Presidential Outcomes

‘The reality of recent United States presidential elections is that there are only about ten states which are the object of attention for candidates and campaigns,’ Stacey Hunter Hecht and David Schultz wrote in 2015.[i] In the five presidential elections between 2000 and 2016, thirty-eight of the fifty American states… Continue reading

The State of the Discipline Series: Part I: Book Review: The Saltwater Frontier by Andrew Lipman

Most historical accounts of the colonisation of New England focus on  territorial claims made on certain swathes of land between the Hudson River and Cape Cod. Not so Andrew Lipman. Unequivocal in his rejection of ‘surf and turf’ histories, in The Saltwater Frontier Lipman argues that by focusing on the ocean itself as a paradigm of shifting territories, his book offers ‘a new way of thinking about Indian history and a new way of understanding this all-too-familiar region’. Continue reading

Latinos and the Language Question: Arizona, 1967-70

On September 15 1969 Mexican American parents and students held a protest march finishing at the Phoenix Municipal Building. The demonstration was organised in response to violent incidents between Mexican American and African American students. Those involved had initially hoped to highlight the need for more stringent security on the school campus. But the protests soon became a proxy for broader dissatisfaction with the education of Mexican Americans at Phoenix Union High School. Continue reading

“In U.S. Cities or on Palestine’s Streets” – A Black-Palestinian Narration of Subaltern Geographies

In the audio-visual demonstration When I See Them I See Us, (2015) various Black American and Palestinian individuals and organisations forming the Black-Palestinian Solidarity movement express their apprehension of both groups’ subalternity by linking and remapping experiences between “U.S. cities” and “Palestine’s streets”. Continue reading

Introducing ‘The American South’: A Free Online Course from the Institute of Humanities at Northumbria University

On 31 October 2016, over 4,600 learners across the world will begin a unique, five-week online education experience. Encouraged to ponder all things southern – from Martin Luther King, Jr. to the mint julep – these learners will explore this most intriguing yet often maligned region of the United States, guided by experts from the Institute of Humanities at Northumbria University. Continue reading

Review: ‘The (Re)production of Misery and the Ways of Resistance’ American Studies Association Conference

In what ways do we think about our bodies as active agents or passive recipients? How do we use misery as a form of resistance, and in what ways can resistance be subversive? How do we teach these issues in the classroom? These are a selection of the challenging, but enthralling questions delegates encountered at this year’s American Studies Association annual conference in Toronto, Canada. Continue reading