Book Review: American Democratic Socialism: History, Politics, Religion, and Theory by Gary Dorrien

Over recent years, American democratic socialism has experienced a remarkable revival. This includes Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s electoral success, but also the transformation of institutions like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) from a 6,000-member organisation with an average age of 68 in the mid-2010s to a 94,915-strong group with an average age of 33 by 2021. But as Gary Dorrien uncovers in American Democratic Socialism: History, Politics, Religion and Theory, this politics has a history that stretches back long before today.   Continue reading

Eyes on Events – Hannah Jeffrey & Krysten Blackstone, SASA Annual Conference 2022

The next episode in our new series Eyes On Events, this week we are interviewing Krysten Blackstone and Hannah Jeffrey about the upcoming Scottish Association for the Study of Americas (SASA) Annual Conference.  The conference is being held on the 5th of March 2022, with a week of events beforehand. You… Continue reading

Book Review: Philosophy for Spiders: On the Low Theory of Kathy Acker by McKenzie Wark

McKenzie Wark’s work over the last decade and a half has delved into a remarkably vast array of themes and problems, running the gamut from the politics of forms of communication, to the relevance of early Soviet thought in the Anthropocene, via a series of books on the Situationist International. If there has been a common thread to these studies, it may be Wark’s account of low theory—a compellingly protean articulation of the possibilities for theoretical production from below, beyond the canonisation of High Theory. Continue reading

Gatekeeping Country: An Ethnographic Study of Female Country Music Performers in the 21st Century

This article is adapted from a presentation given at BAAS Postgraduate Symposium, 4th December 2021. In December 2021, I was delighted to have the opportunity to present a paper on my ongoing PhD research at the BAAS Postgraduate Symposium. Sitting at an intersection of ethnomusicology, American studies, and the sociology… Continue reading

Towards an intersectional theory of news selection in US-based broadcast journalism

This article is adapted from a presentation given at BAAS Postgraduate Symposium, 4th December 2021. This paper argues that by re-thinking ideas of how journalists decide what is and is not news through an intersectional lens, scholars will be better placed to evaluate journalism’s ability to accurately represent the communities… Continue reading

Book Review: Doris Derby: A Civil Rights Journey by Doris Derby

Sharecroppers labouring in Mississippi fields. African American women organising cooperatives to support their communities. Members of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Free Southern Theatre, and the potential for theatre to be a catalyst for change. The centrality of Farish Street to Black life in Jackson, Mississippi. Medical clinics. Schools. Liberty House cooperative. Woodstock. Churches. Houses. Murals. Shootings. Funerals. Speeches. Families. Continue reading

Review: ‘Visibility/Invisibility: Representation and Community Formation in American Studies’, British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Symposium, Online, 4 December 2021.

One distinct advantage of the breadth of a field like American Studies is that the same prompt may be honestly engaged by a host of scholars without fear of repetition, only resonance. The unifying theme of the 2021 BAAS postgraduate symposium was ‘Visibility/Invisibility: Representation and Community Formation in American Studies’.… Continue reading

‘Now You’re The Only One For Me Jolene’: Queer Reading and Forging Community in Country Music

When Nadine Hubbs wrote an additional verse to Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ with the lyric: ‘It’s true that my man found you first / You awakened such a thirst / Now you’re the only one for me, Jolene’, the song’s homoerotic and queer subtext became explicit. [i] This was one example… Continue reading

Book Review: The Republican Party and the War on Poverty: 1964-1981 by Mark McLay

In The Republican Party and the War on Poverty, Mark McLay analyses how the Grand Old Party (GOP) responded to Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, and the issue of poverty more broadly, between 1964 and 1981. He considers what Republican opposition to anti-poverty measures reveals about the GOP and wider US politics during this period. In chronological chapters, McLay examines continuity and change in Republican approaches to poverty. He shows persuasively how Republican reactions to the War on Poverty shaped the GOP’s enduring conservative, anti-statist, and racialised responses to poverty, alongside how anti-poverty measures were understood by the wider public, for years and decades to come. Continue reading