William Faulkner by Kirk Curnutt

Kirk Curnutt’s William Faulkner, the latest in Reaktion’s Critical Lives series, is a valuable contribution to the abundance of biographical materials on Faulkner, one of the United States’s foremost modernist authors. In under two-hundred pages, Curnutt provides a concise, informative, and highly readable account of Faulkner’s life and work. ‘Sole… 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

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Situating Servicemen and Women: African American Soldiers during World War Two’

‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, Northumbria University, 9 September 2016. In the third of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Jennifer O’Reilly reviews a panel featuring Rosemary Pearce (University of Nottingham)… Continue reading

Storify of #bookhour chat on THE MANDIBLES by Lionel Shriver

October 2016 marked our two year anniversary of #bookhour, and to celebrate this ongoing feature former U.S. Studies Online co-editor Michelle Green hosted a discussion of ‘financial crisis dystopia’ The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver with a panel of US and UK researchers. During the discussion Dr Kirk Boyle, Amy Bride, Sarah McCreedy and Michelle Green discussed Shriver’s depiction of material culture, emotions and capitalism, and to what extent the novel is a dystopia or plays with dystopian tropes. Debates arose around how self-conscious Shriver’s novelistic writing is, and if the novel is a Libertarian Candide or postmodern parody. The panellists ended the discussion by returning to The Mandibles as a neonaturalist novel, and left the chat asking, do the Mandibles achieve their capitalist utopia, and is a capitalist utopia achievable? Continue reading

Silence = Death: Podcasting the history of the AIDS Crisis

By Malcolm Craig and Mark McLay, creators of the American History Too! podcast

As two white, straight, middle-class Scottish, male historians, do we have the right to explore such subjects? We would say yes. It’s the job of the historian to look at the evidence, illuminate dark corners, and try to make people aware about what really happened.

We felt that in order to do the subject of the 1980s AIDS crisis justice, we had to avoid repeating many of the myths and falsehoods that abound about the virus and the period. It was important not only examine the historiography of the subject, but crucially to look at the personal testimonies from those who contracted AIDS, those who tried to track its origins, and those who turned a blind eye when they should have extended a hand of friendship.

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Book Review: American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen edited by Sevan G. Terzian and Patrick A. Ryan

Building upon conversations within cultural and media studies, Terzian and Ryan have curated a collection that grapples with the relationship between intent and interpretation—between the way popular media images (mis)represent educational circumstances and the way such images shape how Americans have expected to see their educational surroundings. Continue reading

Book Review: American Guy: Masculinity in American Law and Literature edited by Saul Levmore and Martha C. Nussbaum

American masculinity has recently been reasserting itself as a legitimate topic for study. As recently as 2013, Stony Brook University (SUNY) established the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities under the directorship of Michael Kimmel, one of the foremost voices in masculinity studies in America today. Continue reading

Documentary Review: The Black Panther Party: Vanguard of the Revolution

Newly released documentary The Black Panther Party: Vanguard of the Revolution shows a lesser-seen side of the Black Panthers that marries the stylised, swaggering interpretations of Party members with the role of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO and the frequently overlooked Survival Programmes. Continue reading

Book Review: States of Trial: Manhood in Philip Roth’s Post-War America by Ann Basu

Given that Philip Roth has spent most of his career defending his writing, it’s appropriate that his ‘retirement’ would only be a spur to further debate amongst his readers. After a quiet announcement in the French cultural magazine Les InRocks (so quiet that the Anglophone world didn’t pick up on it until a full month later), Roth called time on a long and storied career. Since then, several critics have already published research that attempts to grapple with the complex issue of Roth’s literary legacy. One of the best of these works is Ann Basu’s recent monograph States of Trial. Continue reading

Trauma, Code and 9/11: Reading Vulnerability in a Digitized Present

Trauma shatters what we know and hold to be true, and these 9/11 texts find unexpected ways out of this. They are fictions of terror that embrace the reality of trauma within a digitized world. Beyond mourning, the experience of terror becomes the starting point for re-defining the place of the individual in the convoluted realities of our present day. These texts are a sensorium for a more humane present in the face of global terrorism. Continue reading