Journal of American & Comparative Cultures

Articles from Vol. 24, No. 1/2, Spring

A Community Performed: St. Nicholas, Lucifer, and Invented Tradition
Immigrants to the United States have used many strategies in order to survive and flourish, emotionally as well as materially, in the new environment surrounding them. The attempt to preserve traditions has been one such strategy. Festivals, food, songs,...
Ahab's Wife, or the Star Gazer: A Wider/deeper View of Melville's Tragic Hero and His Times
In the opening pages of her novel, Ahab's Wife, Sena Jeter Naslund quotes Melville's Moby-- Dick, where Captain Peleg says that "the old man" Ahab has a young, "sweet, resigned wife" and child; so he concludes, "Ahab has his humanities! (xvii-xviii)....
"All Torment, Trouble, Wonder, and Amazement Inhabits Here": The Vicissitudes of Technology in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
At its best, popular culture provides our society with opportunities to impose a narrative form on our cultural presuppositions and anxieties. It allows its creators and its audience an imaginative space to explore issues central to society's self-conception...
Ambients, Houses, and Other Popular Environments: Aesthetics of Popular Culture as Environmental Aesthetics
I. Introduction During the last decades many fields of knowledge have been refreshed by connecting them either with environmental questions or popular culture, or with both. This has happened also in philosophical aesthetics. What has not usually been...
America's Cellular Telephone Obsession: New Geographies of Personal Communication
Every one of us has dreams in progress-yearnings whose fulfillment may lie in that voice at the other end of the phone's ring. -Paul Levinson, The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution Not long ago I stood at a scenic...
Arguing with Pictures: Race, Class, and the Formation of Popular Abolitionism through Uncle Tom's Cabin
I [St. Clare] lifted up a curtain that covered the glass-door, and looked in.... There sat the two children on the floor.... Topsy, with her usual air of careless drollery.. but, opposite to her, Eva, her whole face fervent with feeling, and tears in...
Beat Streets in the Global Hood: Connective Marginalities of the Hip Hop Globe
Public Enemy showed us that Rap music is not afraid of subjects connected with national and race issues. We started to see how powerful Rap could be if it were used in expressing our attitudes. The kind of lyrics and consciousness that reveals the whole...
Becoming Irish or Becoming Irish Music? Boundary Construction in Irish Music Communities
In recent years, Irish traditional music has become the most prominent symbol of Irish national identity around the globe. Among the various activities that can be attributed to its rise to prominence is the recent Riverdance spectacle in which Irish...
Cartoons from Another Planet: Japanese Animation as Cross-Cultural Communication
Geisha, samurai, kimono, sushi, sumo ...eccentric mind-boggling animation? For years, Japanese animation has been heralded as an exciting, albeit bizarre, artistic phenomenon from the same country that introduced us to the tranquil Zen garden and the...
"Do We Get to Win This Time?": POW/MIA Rescue Films and the American Monomyth
On the evening of January 23, 1973, in a national radio and television address, President Richard Nixon announced the conclusion of a cease-fire agreement between the United States of America and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Nixon explained that...
Facing the Depression: Movie Exhibition in the Philadelphia Area, 1931
Throughout the 1930s, the Hollywood trade journal Film Daily Yearbook published an annual feature in which movie moguls assessed current conditions and made predictions for the future. In the "Outlook for 1931," industry leaders de-scribed the prospects...
Fortress Dystopia: Representations of Gated Communities in Comtemporary Fiction
Introduction Things are getting decidedly inhospitable in parts of suburbia these days. The casual passerby in cities as diverse as Los Angeles, Chicago, Manila, and Sydney may readily find neighbourhoods enclosed in a series of protective security measures....
From Control to Adaptation: America's Toy Story
The child's toys and the old man's reasons are the fruits of the two seasons. -William Blake Introduction Nothing defines us more than our toys. From infancy, when we clutch brightly-colored blocks and cuddly teddy bears, to adulthood, when our toys...
"If I Warn't Too Drunk to Get There.": On Race
The prejudices of one's breeding are not gotten rid of just at a jump. -Mark Twain The Hannibal of Mark Twain's youth was permeated by what Forrest Robinson called "bad faith": the unthinking hypocrisy of people who daily violated the moral norms to...
One Man's Meat Is Another Man's Poison: Imagery of Wholesomeness in the Discourse of Meatpacking from 1900-1910
Anybody who thinks about The Jungle today believes that Sinclair wrote his book to expose the foul conditions of the meatpacking industry. In fact, he wrote it to awaken the nation to the exploitation of immigrant workers in Chicago's Packingtown and...
Redefining American Proletarian Literature: Mexican Americans and the Challenge to the Tradition of Radical Dissent
I. Critical Appraisals The last decade has brought massive changes in the way the world is politically and economically organized. The fall of the Berlin wall, the disintegration of the Eastern Block, the demise of the Soviet Union, the massacre at Tiannanmen...
Regimental Bands in the Civil War
Marching Brass Bands were new to the musical scene at the time of the Civil War and they performed in ways that seem odd and out of tune with our times. Brass bands of that era were part of the great shift from a "prismatic" to an "urban/ industrial"...
The Classical Heritage in Neon Lights: Las Vegas, Nevada
Introduction Our classical heritage can be found today in a variety of elements which constitute the fabric of popular culture. Several recent films are noteworthy for their obvious use of classical themes and subjects while literary examples often rely...
"To Demand Your Sympathy and Aid": Our Nig and the Problem of No Audience
Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.... Thus it is in the United States the prejudice rejecting...

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