American Studies

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 4, 2014

ABORTION IN THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION: Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940
ABORTION IN THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION: Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940. By Karen Weingarten. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2014.A solid work of American Studies scholarship should be truly interdisciplinary at the same time it strives...
A Change Is Gonna Come: African American Literature, Jazz and the Intersections of Time, Race, and Justice
A Change Is Gonna Come: African American Literature, Jazz and the Intersections of Time, Race, and JusticeEACH HOUR REDEEM: Time and Justice in African American Literature. By Daylanne K. English. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2013.JAZZ...
AFRICA IN FLORIDA: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State
AFRICA IN FLORIDA: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State. Edited by Amanda B. Carlson and Robin Poynor. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 2014.Africa in Florida offers a fresh perspective on U.S. History, American Cultural...
ATLANTA UNBOUND: Enabling Sprawl through Policy and Planning
ATLANTA UNBOUND: Enabling Sprawl through Policy and Planning. By Carlton Wade Basmajian. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 2013.Born at the confluence of two railroads in the 1830s, today the city of Atlanta is home to less than 500,000 residents...
"Civil War Memory in the Civil Rights Movement and Contemporary Culture."
"Civil War Memory in the Civil Rights Movement and Contemporary Culture."AMERICAN ORACLE: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era. By David Blight. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2011.REMIXING THE CIVIL WAR: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial. Edited...
EDUCATED IN WHITENESS: Good Intentions and Diversity in Schools
EDUCATED IN WHITENESS: Good Intentions and Diversity in Schools. By Angelina E. Castagno. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2014.While its title is a bit misleading, this book examines schools undergoing social change, like many others in the...
EMPIRE OF VINES: Wine Culture in America
EMPIRE OF VINES: Wine Culture in America. By Erica Hannickel. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press. 2013.Popular food histories especially those of Mark Kurlansky like Cod (1998) and Salt (2003) have reached a wide-audience of readers by focusing...
FOURTH CITY: Essays from the Prison in America
FOURTH CITY: Essays from the Prison in America. Edited by Doran Larson. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. 2014.The biggest book in the world right now is Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century, a book that is certainly "the...
Gravity's Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW, DOMINATION, AND FREEDOM. By Luc Herman and Steven Weisenburger. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 2013.In the forty years since the publication of Gravity's Rainbow, entire careers have been built around deciphering and interpreting...
Humanities, Inc
During the 1950s, senior executives at AT&T briefly hoped that the humanities could revitalize their company. Trained mostly in technical subjects such as engineering or business, their midlevel employees, they feared, were narrow in their interests...
LISTENING IN DETAIL: Performances of Cuban Music
LISTENING IN DETAIL: Performances of Cuban Music. By Alexandra T. Vazquez. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2013.Alexandra Vazquez delivers a provocative book on Cuban music performance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; fresh, because she...
MERLE HAGGARD: The Running Kind
MERLE HAGGARD: The Running Kind. By David Cantwell. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2013.This book is rewarding although atypical for a university press. It has no scholarly apparatus besides a selected discography, and for sources it relies on Haggard's...
MODEL IMMIGRANTS AND UNDESIRABLE ALIENS: The Cost of Immigration Reform in the 1990s
MODEL IMMIGRANTS AND UNDESIRABLE ALIENS: The Cost of Immigration Reform in the 1990s. By Christina Gerken. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2013.In the mid-1990s, the 104th Congress debated and passed three laws that would have a profound...
NFL FOOTBALL: A History of America's New National Pastime
NFL FOOTBALL: A History of America's New National Pastime. By Richard C. Crepeau. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2014.The rise of the National Football League-from a ragtag group of often fly-by-night teams in the industrial towns of the Midwest...
Of Science and Excess: Jacob Riis, Anzia Yezierska, and the Modernist Turn in Immigrant Fiction
The beauty of looking into these places without actually being present there is that the excursionist is spared the vulgar sounds and odious scents and repulsive exhibition attendant on such personal examination.1Jacob Riis's description of the "vicarious...
PHILIP ROTH AND WORLD LITERATURE: Transatlantic Perspectives and Uneasy Passages
PHILIP ROTH AND WORLD LITERATURE: Transatlantic Perspectives and Uneasy Passages. Edited by Velichka D. Ivanova. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press. 2014.This important work seeks to explore the work of Philip Roth in world literature. In fact, it basically...
PROOF OF GUILT: Barbara Graham and the Politics of Executing Women in America
PROOF OF GUILT: Barbara Graham and the Politics of Executing Women in America. By Kathleen A. Cairns. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2013.As of January 2014, there were 3,070 people on death row, sixty-three of whom are women, and gendered analyses...
PROPHETS OF THE POSTHUMAN: American Fiction, Biotechnology and the Ethics of Personhood
PROPHETS OF THE POSTHUMAN: American Fiction, Biotechnology and the Ethics of Personhood. By Christina Bieber Lake. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013.In Prophets of the Posthuman: American Fiction, Biotechnology and the Ethics of Personhood,...
RACE, RIOTS, AND ROLLER COASTERS: The Struggle over Segregated Recreation in America
RACE, RIOTS, AND ROLLER COASTERS: The Struggle over Segregated Recreation in America. By Victoria W. Wolcott. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2012.Studies of the "long civil rights movement" have increasingly focused on housing and education,...
RETIREMENT ON THE LINE: Age, Work, and Value in an American Factory
RETIREMENT ON THE LINE: Age, Work, and Value in an American Factory. By Caitrin Lynch. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 2012.American labor, industrial and otherwise, is often thought of according to certain demographic paradigms. Caitrin Lynch's...
ROBERT CANTWELL AND THE LITERARY LEFT: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction
ROBERT CANTWELL AND THE LITERARY LEFT: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction. By T.V. Reed. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 2014.A concise literary biography of "proletarian" novelist Robert Cantwell adds significantly to the revisionist...
ROLL WITH IT: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans
ROLL WITH IT: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. By Matt Sakakeeny, with artwork by Willie Birch. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2013.The aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has generated many stories of resilience,...
SCHOOLMASTER OF THE MOVEMENT: A Biography
BENJAMIN ELIJAH MAYS, SCHOOLMASTER OF THE MOVEMENT: A Biography. By Randal Maurice Jelks. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 2012.In this important work, historian Randal Maurice Jelks provides a chronological and intimate account of...
SETTLER COMMON SENSE: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance
SETTLER COMMON SENSE: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance. By Mark Rifkin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2014.Mark Rifkin adds to his brilliant collection of work on settler colonialism by challenging the scholarly...
SEX AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS: The American Quest for a Relatable Past
SEX AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS: The American Quest for a Relatable Past. By Thomas A. Foster. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 2014.Given the prominence of the Founding Fathers in popular and scholarly histories of the United States, an examination...
Sex, or the Unbearable
SEX, OR THE UNBEARABLE. By Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2013.Berlant and Edelman take debates around the antisocial thesis as a point of departure to theorize the importance of relationality, loss and repair, sovereignty,...
SOCCER CULTURE IN AMERICA: Essays on the World's Sport in Red, White and Blue
SOCCER CULTURE IN AMERICA: Essays on the World's Sport in Red, White and Blue. Edited by Yuya Kiuchi. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. 2013.Through a collection of essays written mostly by professors at American universities, Yuya Kiuchi seeks to find the meaning...
Southern Studies as Area Studies: Faulkner and Provincial Nationalism during the Cold War
Through a reexamination of William Faulkner's well-documented critical recovery at the hands of New Critics in the 1940s and early 1950s as an event integral to the formalization of both American literary studies and southern literary studies, tliis...
SPACES OF CONFLICT, SOUNDS OF SOLIDARITY: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles
SPACES OF CONFLICT, SOUNDS OF SOLIDARITY: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles. By Gaye Theresa Johnson. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2013.In this magnificently written and researched book, Gaye Theresa Johnson offers readers...
Steinbeck as Anti-Fascist
In 1938 John Steinbeck wrote a statement in support of Republican Spain as part of the Writers Take Sides volume published by the League of American Writers. Joining an array of prominent authors who took an anti-fascist position in the collection of...
STRANGE NATURES: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination
STRANGE NATURES: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination. By Nicole Seymour. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 2013.What does it mean to practice a queer ecocriticism? Such a query animates Nicole Seymour's Strange Natures: Futurity,...
THE DELECTABLE NEGRO: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture
THE DELECTABLE NEGRO: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within US Slave Culture. By Vincent Woodard. New York: New York University Press. 2014.The Delectable Negro explores American slave culture, revealing the fantasies, investments, and discourses...
THE INDICTED SOUTH: Public Criticism, Southern Inferiority, and the Politics of Whiteness
THE INDICTED SOUTH: Public Criticism, Southern Inferiority, and the Politics of Whiteness. By Angie Maxwell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2014.At the heart of white identity in the twentieth-century American South lay an enduring...
'TIL FAITH DO US PART: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America
'TIL FAITH DO US PART: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America. By Naomi Schaefer Riley. New York: Oxford University Press. 2013.The makeup of American marriages is changing more dynamically than at any point in history. According to Naomi Schaefer...
TOUGH ON HATE?: The Cultural Politics of Hate Crimes
TOUGH ON HATE?: The Cultural Politics of Hate Crimes. By Clara S. Lewis. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2013.Although gay college student Matthew Shepard's murder was not legally deemed a hate crime, Shepard has become the paradigmatic...
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