Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Articles from Vol. 20, No. 4, Winter

A Diffusion of American Culture in Western Europe since World War Two: A Crosscultural Survey
Years ago, I was part of a summer teaching program in American cultural studies for European teachers of English, which took place in a distant corner of the Old World itself. We were there because European students had a lot of first-hand experience...
Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994
Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994. Herbert H. Haines. New York: Oxford, 1996. $35.00. Herbert Haines's Against Capital Punishment is more than welcome. It contributes to raising the discussion of the death...
American Studies in Europe: Its Vital Role in Internationalizing the Field
Introduction During the last decades there has been a significant increase in the number of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary fields in the humanities and social sciences in Europe. One may wonder what the position of American Studies is, or preferably...
Bonfire of the Humanities: Television, Subliteracy, and Long-Term Memory Loss
Bonfire of the Humanities: Television, Subliteracy, and Long-Term Memory Loss. David Marc, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1995. The premiere volume of the new Television Series by Syracuse University Press, David Marc's Bonfire of the Humanities advances...
Celebrating Asparagus: Community and the Rationally Constructed Food Festival
"Traditions are always defined in the present" Regina Bendix Inventing Traditions For Whom? (1989: 137) "Asparagus ice cream:...Ya gotta love it!" Festival Goer, Stockton Asparagus Festival (1997) Popular festivals that purport to center on, and revolve...
Dublin Pub Life & Lore: An Oral History
Dublin Pub Life & Lore: An Oral History. Kevin C. Kearns. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan, 1996. Dublin is famous for its pubs and the vibrancy of its pub life. Many of the pubs that line its streets today-nearly 800 of them in a city of about...
Humanistic Aspects of Technical Communication
Humanistic Aspects of Technical Communication. Edited by Paul M. Dombrowski. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, 1994. In the spirit of Carolyn Miller's "A Humanistic Rationale for Technical Communication" (1979) and Steven B. Katz's "The Ethic...
Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King
Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King. Edward J. Ingebretsen, S.J. Armonk, M.E. Sharpe. 1996. 221 pp. Selected bibliography and index. Until Ingebretsen's carefully detailed monography, the study of...
Nahuas, Gachupines, Patriarchs and Piris: Nicaraguan History through Highland Peasant Eyes
History, the art of trying to know the past in order to understand the present, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the future, is lived by all but written by few. Latin American history is no exception to this rule. Writers of the region's history have,...
On Sale Now: The Myths of America in Israel, or the Promised Land in the Promised Land
The ways in which American culture works in America are not the same as the ways it works in Israel or, perhaps, anywhere else. Israel, it seems, never takes the best of what America has to offer culturally and what it does take seems to backfire in...
Parallel Tracks: The Railroad and Silent Cinema
Parallel Tracks: The Railroad and Silent Cinema. Lynne Kirby. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997. Train passengers and cinema audiences shared a common experience. Scenes flashed past the train window or the movie screen, taking the passenger/ spectator...
Powerplay: Toys as Popular Culture
Powerplay: Toys As Popular Culture. Don Fleming. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996. 225 pages. $69.95 cloth, $24.95 paperback. In Powerplay: Toys as Popular Culture, Dan Fleming addresses two key questions: (1) How do children's toys...
Radios: Short Takes on Life and Culture
Radios: Short Takes on Life and Culture. Jerome Stern. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. Jerry Stern (1938-1996) had a distinct affection and talent for short prose pieces, carefully crafted to yield infinite riches in a little room. This is a collection...
Studying America in Europe: Four Vignettes and a Program
Vignette #1: Santa Claus in Holland There has never been much of a debate about the impending Hollandization of the world. Yet if only the Dutch had put their mind to it at the critical moment of opportunity in their national history-and had they been...
The American Century: Varieties of Culture in Modern Times
The American Century: Varieties of Culture in Modern Times. Norman F. Cantor, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997. A new century is nigh; the incoming horde of freshmen peeking out from underneath their backward-turned baseball caps this fall will...
The End Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age
The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age. John Horgan. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1996. Reprinted by Broadway Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1996. John...
The Rhetoric of a Nature Writer: Subversion, Persuasion, and Ambiguity in the Writings of Edward Abbey
The genre of nature writing in American literature is rich in tradition and cultural significance. It has produced such canonical figures and texts as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau's Walden, and is now, with the many environmental pressures...
Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative
Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Edward R. Tufte. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 1997. Specialists in esoteric fields can become cult figures in their own time. Carl Sagan in astronomy and Stephen Hawking in physics...
Walking the Ethnic Tightwire: Ethnicity and Dialectic in Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives
Contradictions in Image and Word Photographer and writer Jacob Riis was a forgotten man from the time of his death in 1914 until Alexander Alland's New York exhibition of his photos in 1947. Since then, interest in and admiration of Riis' stark, gritty...
Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783
Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783. Mark V. Kwasny. Kent, OH: The Kent State University Press, 1996. $35.00. Although George Washington's major campaigns in the New York City area have been recounted many times, Mark V. Kwasny offers readers an interesting...
William Birch's City of Philadelphia: The Politics of the Picturesque and Urban Life in the Early Republic
Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if he ever had a chosen people.... The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body..... Thomas Jefferson, 1782 1 The...
"Women and Children First": Popular Mythology and Disaster at Sea, 1840-1860
In January of 1852, the Birkenhead, a fully loaded transport carrying British troops and over two dozen of their family members from Cork to Capetown struck an uncharted rock near the African coast. The few lifeboats she carried were sufficient to save...
Writings and Drawings
Writings and Drawings. James Thurber. Edited by Garrison Keillor. New York: Library of America, 1996. In what will surely become the standard collection of James Thurber, Writings and Drawings collects well over 100 pieces, from 19 books, plus a number...