Quantum Leap: Jukebox Nostalgia and the Flattening of History

In the opening scene of the Quantum Leap episode “Animal Frat” (2×12), Dr. Sam Beckett ‘leaps’ into the body of Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton, arriving in his body on top of a pool table as two ‘Tau Kappa Beta’ fraternity brothers pour beer from the keg into Sam’s startled face…. Continue reading

Review of Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America’s Past, edited by Renee C. Romano and Claire Bond Potter

This collection of fifteen essays brings together a range of specialist academic perspectives on the remarkable cultural phenomenon that is Hamilton: an American Musical. It will be of interest to a wide range of people: fans of the show; professional scholars from a range of disciplines; and the general reader. It is an essential library purchase for anyone considering teaching courses which include this musical. Continue reading

From Lemonade to the Louvre: Beyoncé and Jay Z’s Contestation of Whiteness and Showcasing of Black Excellence in Everything Is Love

On 16 June 2018, Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z released their latest and joint album, Everything Is Love, exclusively to Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal [1]. The album quickly became the subject of discussion among cultural commentators and mainstream media around the world, who largely saw it as the final… Continue reading

Review: 2001: Beyond 50

Review: 2001: Beyond 50, Bangor University, 16 June 2018 2001: Beyond 50 – a commemoration and celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s ground-breaking and influential science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey – was no ordinary academic event. Organised by Professor Nathan Abrams (Bangor University) and hosted by the Centre… 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

‘Can the Subaltern Play?’ Jazz as Voice in Boston, Massachusetts circa 1910 – 1949

One of the most interesting developments in contemporary subaltern studies has been its growing engagement with culture, particularly music. In 1988, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, in the context of postcolonial research, asked, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ which, through its focus on agency, inspired greater inclusiveness and self-critical research on the other, life on the margins, and unheard peoples. Since then, many scholars have engaged with the political consequences of Spivak’s question and used her essay as inspiration. Continue reading

Review: Bowie’s Books Conference

Few musicians, perhaps, have been so closely identified with literature than David Bowie. Marking just over a year since the artist’s death ‘Bowie’s Books’, organised by Professor Richard Canning and Dr Sam Reese, gathered scholars from a variety of backgrounds for an interdisciplinary conference on Bowie’s relationship with literature. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Crossing Boundaries: Challenging American Norms During the 1950s and 1960s’

In the second of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Natasha Neary reviews a panel featuring Simon Buck (Northumbria University) and Elizabeth Smith (Liverpool Hope University). Continue reading

Review: Images of America: Reality and Stereotypes

In 1947 Harvard graduate Clemens Heller envisioned an academic community in which former enemies could discuss, analyse, and critique the culture of the United States as the new post-war superpower. Almost seventy years on and the Salzburg Global Seminar is still going, stronger than ever and attracting leading academics and professionals from major institutions across the world. Continue reading

“Money, That’s What I Want”: Who Benefitted from the Crossover of African American Musicians in the 1960s?

Throughout the twentieth century, the American music industry was plagued by issues of race, segregation and inequality; much like America itself. As the century progressed, music became a significant indicator of race relations and a willingness within much of the United States to racially integrate. This is exemplified through the growing ability for African American musicians to crossover to mainstream audiences. Scholar, Phillip Harper defines the term ‘crossover’ as an act’s achievement of commercial success due to its appeal across racial boundaries Continue reading