Visualising the Americas: Kent’s Third Annual Americanist Symposium, Keynote Addresses

What happens when you attempt to condense thousands of words, and years of research, into a single image? This was the challenge put to attendees of the Kent Americanists Symposium in June 2019 – to find and share the single image through which an entire wider discussion could be accessed. Continue reading

Symposium Panel Review: ‘Visualising the Americas: Kent’s Third Annual Americanist Symposium’, The University of Kent, Keynes College, Monday 3rd June, 2019.

From pre-colonised American Indian art to contemporary graffiti murals, the Americas have a rich and varied visual history. This one-day symposium, co-organised by three PhD candidates at the University of Kent – Ellie Armon Azoulay, Sarah Smeed, and Megan King – invited panellists and speakers to focus on one particular image or object as a catalyst for exploring larger themes, trends and figures. Continue reading

Social Disorder: Publics, 1968, Amateur photography and Vivian Maier

This essay is the fourth in our series, ‘Literature, Visual Imagery and Material Culture in American Studies’. The series seeks to situate literature, visual imagery and material culture at the heart of American studies, and will explore the varying ways in which written and non-written sources have been created, politicised, exploited, and celebrated by the diverse peoples of the United States and beyond. You can find out more information here. Continue reading

University of Kent: Review: The Cartographic Imagination: Art, Literature and Mapping in the United States, 1945-1980

Papers were impressively varied in reach and scope, covering landscape photography, the New York art scene, the refugee crisis, and maps of Disneyland. Though focused on the post-war period in the U.S., discussions, it seemed, could not help being drawn towards the present moment. Continue reading

Winner of the BAAS Postgraduate Essay Prize: The Stettheimer Dollhouse: A Life and Salon in Miniature

For twenty years, the Stettheimer salon (1915-1935) reigned as one of the central cultural hubs of 20th-century New York. Led by sisters Florine, Ettie, and Carrie, the salon cultivated an influential network of modernist artists, writers, and musicians, which would inspire and facilitate most of the sisters’ creative endeavours, including Carrie’s dollhouse replica of the salon: the Stettheimer dollhouse. An amalgamation of both Stettheimer salon locations, the dollhouse functions as a microcosm of the Stettheimer salon. Notable salon guests contributed a number of miniature paintings and sculptures to the dollhouse, whilst also providing Carrie with encouragement to persevere with the project. Continue reading

Book Review: Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States by William Huntting Howell

Stressing in his introduction that his concern is the ‘facts on the ground’ (11) in American history, Howell draws on quotidian and largely overlooked aesthetic projects such as the design of coins and schoolgirl samplers to offer some genuinely original work on how creative work in America was consanguineous with the processes of state-building. Continue reading

Book Review: Falling After 9/11: Crisis in American Art and Literature by Aimee Pozorski

Surely one of the most memorable and enduring artistic responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks is Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman’s New Yorker cover, “9/11/2001.” The image initially appears as an utterly dark void, but a closer look reveals the ghostly afterimage of the Twin Towers, rendered in an even deeper shade of black. Published in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Mouly and Spiegelman’s artwork evokes the monochrome despair of ­a grieving nation­, and seemed to usher in a dark night of the American soul. Continue reading

Review: ‘Poetry and Collaboration in the Age of Modernism’ Conference

Because the word “collaboration” can contain so much, ‘Poetry and Collaboration’ brought together scholars with wildly different interpretations of what it means to work together. The opening keynote by Peter Howarth (Queen Mary) set the tone by being generally definitional. For Howarth, the word could potentially replace “context” in discussions of historical environment, in order to give us a more active way to talk about the interactions between artists and their surroundings. Continue reading