Reconstructing the American Gothic in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

In the first episode of the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018–, henceforth CAoS), the title character’s Aunt Hilda declares, misty-eyed, that she is so proud of the young woman her nearly 16-year-old niece has become. Sabrina’s more cutting, rigid, and severe Aunt Zelda corrects her – “of the young witch you are becoming.” Zelda’s emphasis on the process of becoming, of the continual metamorphosis of young supernatural adulthood, speaks to the ways in which the series blurs boundaries, questions hierarchies, and constantly confounds binaries of identity. CAoS transforms the pathological, masculinist, and puritanical anxieties of the traditional American Gothic into a more fluid and shifting investigation of adolescence, femininity, and the uncanny. Continue reading

University of Sussex: Review: BAAS Annual Conference 2019

Review: BAAS 64th Annual Conference, 25-27 April 2019, University of Sussex “The only reason you’d go to uni,” the young man on the train confidently declared to his friend, “is so you don’t have to work anymore.” The participants of the BAAS 64th Annual Conference, to which I was travelling,… Continue reading

University College London: Review: Queer Work/Queer Labour

Conference Review: ‘Queer Work/Queer Labour,’ UCL, 15 March 2018 https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lgbtq-research/sites/lgbtq-research/files/queer_work_queer_labour_programme_4_2_19.pdf Professor Margot Canaday (Princeton University) delivered queer UCL’s annual plenary lecture on ‘“The One’s Who Had Nothing to Lose”: Days and Nights in the Queer Work World’. Canaday took audience members on a spatial tour of the ‘queer work world’… Continue reading

‘Women of Genius’: The ‘Revolt from the Village’ in Mary Austin and Willa Cather’s Fiction

The American small-town has long been a telling index of American cultural identity and a genesis site for prevailing hegemonic ideologies, but many writers of the interwar period began a narrative iconoclasm of the small-town idyll. The Midwestern authors Edgar Lee Masters, Sherwood Anderson, and Sinclair Lewis, to name but three, destabilised the myth of the utopian small-town and instead rendered such spaces as provincial, lonesome, and conservative enclaves from which one must flee. This article contends that, between Mary Austin’s A Woman of Genius (1912) and Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark (1915), a distinctly female ‘revolt’ lineage becomes apparent. Continue reading

Review: IAAS Postgraduate Symposium

‘This is America? Shaping, Making and Recreating’, IAAS Postgraduate Symposium, Trinity College Dublin, 10 November 2018 Programme: https://issuu.com/iaas/docs/iaaspg18_programme.docx The 2018 postgraduate symposium for the Irish Association for American Studies, co-organised by Postgraduate and Early Career Caucus co-chairs Sarah Cullen and James Hussey, set out to explore the narrative creation and… Continue reading

University of Nottingham: Review: HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference 2018

Review: ‘Uses and Abuses of the American Past’, HOTCUS PG & ECR Conference, University of Nottingham, 20 October 2018 ‘Uses and Abuse of American Past’, held on 20 October this year, addressed a variety of contemporary issues. Like the BAAS conference on 1968, scheduled just two weeks later, this conference… Continue reading

Landscape and Masculinity in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

The  Postgraduate Essay Prize is offered annually by the British Association for American Studies. It is awarded for the best essay-length piece of work on an American Studies topic written by a student currently registered for a postgraduate degree at a university or equivalent institution in Britain. This year’s winner is Victoria Addis, University of Leeds.  Continue reading

Book Review: Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America by Jennifer Brier, Jim Downs and Jennifer L. Morgan (eds.)

This expansive and ambitious collection sets out to ask what the American past looks like when race and sexuality are the ‘animating questions’ (3), addressing a persistent failure in scholarship to integrate concerns about race and sexuality. Essays here span almost four centuries of North American history, from same-sex desire on seventeenth-century slave plantations to the mass marches of the 1990s and early 2000s. Continue reading

Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950

Review: Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950, University of Kent, 17-18 July 2018 Dr Sara Lyons and Dr Michael Collins welcomed international contributors to the University of Kent to investigate how British and American novelists understood and represented the sciences of… Continue reading

University of Sussex: Review: DISCO! An Interdisciplinary Conference

Review: DISCO! An Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Sussex, 21-23 June 2018 The word ‘disco’ refers to several things, both the genre of music which the OED describes as ‘strongly rhythmical pop music mainly intended for dancing’ that was ‘particularly popular in the mid to late 1970s’, to the nightclub or… Continue reading