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Kosmos
Astronomia Astrofizyka
Inne

Kultura
Sztuka dawna i współczesna, muzea i kolekcje

Metoda
Metodologia nauk, Matematyka, Filozofia, Miary i wagi, Pomiary

Materia
Substancje, reakcje, energia
Fizyka, chemia i inżynieria materiałowa

Człowiek
Antropologia kulturowa Socjologia Psychologia Zdrowie i medycyna

Wizje
Przewidywania Kosmologia Religie Ideologia Polityka

Ziemia
Geologia, geofizyka, geochemia, środowisko przyrodnicze

Życie
Biologia, biologia molekularna i genetyka

Cyberprzestrzeń
Technologia cyberprzestrzeni, cyberkultura, media i komunikacja

Działalność
Wiadomości | Gospodarka, biznes, zarządzanie, ekonomia

Technologie
Budownictwo, energetyka, transport, wytwarzanie, technologie informacyjne

European Journal of American Studies

Independence Day and Land of Plenty are two tropes referring to the basis of American national identity: the Declaration of Independence with its guarantee of equal and inalienable rights and the promise of an inexhaustible abundance of resources. Independence Day and Land of Plenty are also two American feature films directed by German émigrés, the first being a science fiction blockbuster from 1996 by Roland Emmerich, the second an independent road movie from 2003 by Wim Wenders. Both films confront the issue of American patriotism albeit from different angles and at different times. Independence Day wholeheartedly embraces the American founding myths and translates them into a science fiction scenario. Wenders manoeuvres into an artistic space producing what I call patriotism of dissent. The films engage in a kind of dialectic dialogue on American patriotism. This article takes a close look at émigré perspectives on American patriotism before and after 9/11. By turning to the fou...

http://ejas.revues.org/8682 2014/03/01 - 18:31

Comic books have always been considered a sensitive, and perhaps misunderstood, area for academia. Fortunately, they have come a long way since the attacks of Dr. Frederic Wertham and his The Seduction of the Innocent (1954) where they were considered to be the harbingers of negative influences. Over the past years they have gained more recognition. University courses, including literary courses, media studies, game studies, adaptation studies, brand management courses, creative writing courses and even history courses, have been paying more attention to comic books which have much to offer by way of their narrative media form, their content, and characters in addition to being vital components of Popular Culture. It is encouraging to see academia being more open-minded about comic books, and as a sample of such open-mindedness, I credit the anthology Comic Books and American Cultural History.
Comic Books and American Cultural History is a diverse anthology of articles that examine ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10255 2014/02/18 - 16:02

I would insist that most of us Europeans who have traveled a lot in the United States can identify with some of the stories Kenneth D. Rose raises in this volume. If travelers today are awestruck by the mightiness of the Grand Canyon or the Yellowstone, gulp at the pulse, wealth, and poverty in urban metropolises like Chicago or New York, or have difficulties understanding the seemingly work-obsessed lifestyles of most Americans, many of the same issues were raised by Europeans touring Gilded Age America. Whether or not it is (or was in the 1800s) possible to speak of something like an European perspective of America, in the minds of many travelers the United States stood (and still stands) for something deeply fascinating and potentially liberating but also shallow and somewhat disturbing. America is awesome, mighty, and big, and it is rich, energetic, and welcoming to visitors, but it also seems haunted by racial discrimination, somewhat self-centered, and at times even jingoist. ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10257 2014/02/18 - 16:02

In the United States, the history of the military in the nineteenth-century American West is not much remarked by scholars.  The conference programs of the American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians rarely feature the subject, and at the recent annual meeting of the Western History Association, only two panels out of eighty dealt with the topic.   Most academic historians there turned instead to issues of race, class, gender, borderlands, and transcultural studies.  Popular interest in narratives featuring Crazy Horse, George Armstrong Custer, and other figures has yet to wane, though, and one or two university presses continue to supply the demand for biographies of native leaders and army officers, as well as studies that center around conflict-based narratives of battle or massacre.  While this work can be interesting, it reflects little engagement with the categories of analysis that preoccupy others in the discipline; with very few exceptions, there...

http://ejas.revues.org/10259 2014/02/18 - 16:02

Keith Gessen’s debut novel is not a “post-9/11” text in the manner of Falling Man or Terrorist. It is not concerned, explicitly, with the aftermath of the attacks. Like many “post-9/11” texts, however, it asks questions about the ability of twenty-first century writers to tackle big issues—tragedy, violence, history. The three main characters—Sam, Mark and Keith—are Ivy League-educated writers with an extensive knowledge of history, but have disengaged from history precisely because they live in books. This article explores the ways in which Gessen seems ironically to make writing the opposite of risk in an increasingly risky world. For these young men it becomes, along with Google searches and internet pornography, a form of distraction. Gessen poses a problem: writing has a responsibility to address historic events contemporaneously but increasingly, in competition with the visual image, only has power or purpose when viewed retrospectively as part of an earlier structure of feeli...

http://ejas.revues.org/10252 2014/01/11 - 22:07

This volume by Joseph S. Nye does not represent his first intervention into the realm of politics and issues of power.  A short list of previous studies by him includes titles like Born to Lead:  The Changing Nature of American Power (1990), The Paradox of American Power (2002), and Soft Power:  The Means to Success in World Politics, (2004).  Imbued in these works is Nye’s uncanny ability to identify and probe key topics and themes in international relations which have not attracted as much attention by scholars as they perhaps deserve.  In-depth analyses coupled with broad coverage, yet simultaneously focused commentaries characterize Nye’s style, and Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era is no exception to this approach.
For some, a study of political leadership might not seem timely at first glance.  Consider the dynamic role played by the masses in the events of the Arab Spring in which particular leaders were compelled to give in to popular demands.  Or e...

http://ejas.revues.org/10247 2014/01/10 - 05:55

In her book Bożenna Chylińska offers an extensive, well-documented, and detailed discussion of the concept of work in Puritan theology and life. Tracing the evolution of the Puritan interpretations of work from the beginnings of the Reformation to the end of the eighteenth century, Chylińska presents the views of English and American Puritans and refers to their biographies as evidence of how work was not just part of religious beliefs, but also lived experience of such Puritan thinkers as John Calvin, Cotton Mather, and Benjamin Franklin.
Chapter I offers a brief discussion of the historical development of the concept of work in religion and philosophy. Starting with a short and informative presentation of the Biblical teachings about work and their early interpretations, the author passes on to the contemporary theology of the Catholic Church, as well as the studies of such writers as Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber, tracing the most significant discourses ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10250 2014/01/10 - 05:55

This article argues that the practical jokes running throughout Wilson’s novel Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859) are evidence of a deliberate and sophisticated comic strategy that exploits the spectacular body’s potential for subversive performance and works against the alienating conditions of social and political marginalisation experienced by African Americans in the antebellum period. Initially utilising the crude humour of minstrelsy, Wilson deliberately capitalised on her readers’ laughter in order to defamiliarise the ‘spectacle’ of blackness in both popular performance culture and indentured servitude. Using movement, costume and material props, Wilson imagines new ways to present her protagonist’s body through the minstrel stereotypes of Topsy, Jim Crow, Zip Coon and Jasper Jack. Wilson then turns the joke on her white readers, ultimately demonstrating that whiteness, like blackness, is a performative identity. Taken as a whole, Wilson’s comic strate...

http://ejas.revues.org/10223 2013/12/22 - 09:24

Keith Gessen’s debut novel is not a “post-9/11” text in the manner of Falling Man or Terrorist. It is not concerned, explicitly, with the aftermath of the attacks. Like many “post-9/11” texts, however, it asks questions about the ability of twenty-first century writers to tackle big issues—tragedy, violence, history. The three main characters—Sam, Mark and Keith—are Ivy League-educated writers with an extensive knowledge of history, but have disengaged from history precisely because they live in books. This article explores the ways in which Gessen seems ironically to make writing the opposite of risk in an increasingly risky world. For these young men it becomes, along with Google searches and internet pornography, a form of distraction. Gessen poses a problem: writing has a responsibility to address historic events contemporaneously but increasingly, in competition with the visual image, only has power or purpose when viewed retrospectively as part of an earlier structure of feeli...

http://ejas.revues.org/10222 2013/12/22 - 09:24

Alan Wald completes his trilogy on the history of the American literary Left during the middle decades of the twentieth century with a careful and original study of the period ranging from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s. Following the first part, Exiles from a Future Time (2002), in whichattention is primarily given to the early years of the Great Depression, and the second Trinity of Passion (2007), centered around responses in life and art developed through the course of World War II, this third volume is devoted to authors whose commitment—whether unconditional or not—to   Communism was tested against identified, adversary socio-cultural and political parameters as well as major historical events which marked the postwar period and signaled the onset of the Cold War Era. The work recognizes as a point of departure the fact that this was a moment when American writers on the Left found themselves suspended between a state of disillusionment with the Soviet project—intensified by ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10217 2013/12/14 - 15:00

In the fallout from Obama’s reelection in November 2012, the leadership of the Republican National Committee (RNC) called for an examination of the party’s failure to unseat the president. The subsequent “Growth and Opportunity Project” was released in March of 2013 and was described by RNC chairman Reince Priebus as “the most public and most comprehensive post-election review in the history of any national party.” The report highlighted that Republican conservatism was increasingly out of touch with the youth and with non-white Americans–obviously two important demographic groups in the national election: “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country…We need a Party whose brand of conservatism invites and inspires new people to visit us… it should be a more welcoming conservatism.” The “Growth and Opportunity” report, a remarkably frank self-assessment o...

http://ejas.revues.org/10219 2013/12/14 - 15:00

On September 1873 William F. Cody, the man known as Buffalo Bill, met John M. Burke. Burke was a theatre manager and Cody was starring in the stage production Scouts of the Plains. This first meeting began a professional relationship that accompanied and determined the thirty-three years of performances –from 1883 to 1916– of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
Often presented as the show’s “general manager,” Burke served as its advance man, talent scout, location scout, and press agent. He prepared programs and advertising booklets and, in 1893, reorganizing and renewing previously collected materials, he published Cody’s biography Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace. As specified in the subtitle, this book aims to re-propose “an authentic history of the Wild West, with sketches, stories of adventure, and anecdotes of “Buffalo Bill”, the hero of the Plains.” This claim to authenticity dominates the hagiographical tale proposed by Burke. Promoting Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, Burke has neve...

http://ejas.revues.org/10220 2013/12/14 - 15:00

The legendary producer-director Cecil B. DeMille was an unsung auteur, a master of the American cinema, and a seminal cofounder of both Hollywood and Paramount Pictures who was professionally enamoured with the pursuit of sensationalism, authenticity and realism for his crowd-pleasing productions. Whilst pursuing this filmic quest, many of his crew were subjected to real danger, distress and injury, sometimes mortally. Utilising humanist film criticism as the guiding analytical lens, the critical DeMille, autobiographical and related anecdotal literature was selectively reviewed for illustrative instances of this infamous production penchant. Seven heuristic taxonomic categories were identified and explicated herein, namely: (1) Unexpected Working Accidents: From Annoying to Dangerous to Deadly, (2) Pain as a By-Product of Production: Expected and Unexpected, (3) Personal Discomfort as a Professional Norm: More Real Than Real?, (4) Professionalism as Expected Risk-Taking: Normalisin...

http://ejas.revues.org/10165 2013/12/10 - 06:18

… this inquiry is concerned with the connection between popular books read for pleasure by adult Americans and the times in which those books were read.…; but flexible as the criterion may be, it would be stretched beyond the breaking point should it include dictionaries, school texts, cookbooks, government reports, or manuals on specialized subjects.

Taken from James Hart’s The Popular Book, this quote might describe at once the rationale behind Must Read and its competitive advantage for those interested in the history of popular reading in the United States: it successfully navigates “beyond [Hart’s] breaking point” to encompass a number of genres, from romances to savoir faire manuals, over a period of four centuries, but it does so wisely noting that “the semantic and definitional vagaries surrounding the term ‘bestseller’,” let alone what constitutes one, can never be resolved in summary or comprehensive terms. This being a common post-modern caveat, especially in the enormous ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10162 2013/11/29 - 19:53

Kristen Case’s study is a timely contribution to the ongoing scholarly interest in pragmatist genealogies and affiliations within American intellectual and literary history. Case’s exploration of “crosscurrents” between American poetry and the pragmatist tradition revolve affinities that “disrupt traditional, linear notions of literary inheritance” (xii). Framed by an introductory chapter on the tension between idealism and a proto-pragmatist perspective on experience in Emerson’s thought, Case offers, “five pairings” (xi) that unfold convergences between pragmatism and the ways Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and Charles Olson engage with fundamental dualities of the Western philosophical tradition, namely, the relation and disjunction between subject and object, the self and the world. Revisiting their poetics in relation to the pragmatists’ “valu[ing] experience over the inherited problems of the vocabulary of philosophy” (xii), Case claims that the ‘voicin...

http://ejas.revues.org/10163 2013/11/29 - 19:53

This article traces the rhetoric of accounting in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century racial discourse, from its initial use by slave traders, to its reinscription (or re-metaphorization) as “fraud” by abolitionists, and finally to its turn-of-the-century valence in exposing the linguistic double-dealing and metonymic substitution that informed—and continues to inform—racist ideology.With its emphasis on bodysnatching, doubling, and displacement of “figures,” Charles W. Chesnutt’s 1901 novel The Marrow of Tradition exposes the fallacious logic, the traces of the trade, which persisted in the figuration of racial relations in post-Reconstruction America. In doing so, Chesnutt’s novel participates in, or prefigures, a method of journalistic “muckraking” that was soon to characterize the first decade of the twentieth century.  

http://ejas.revues.org/10148 2013/11/21 - 22:40

Edward Clarke’s book entitled The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens (2012) constitutes an important addition to the scholarship that keeps on being steadily produced about W. B. Yeats’ and Wallace Stevens’ poetic practice. The uniqueness of Clarke’s publication lies in the in-depth commentary it provides on particular poems by these two major poets in an attempt to highlight the inventiveness in their conception and philosophical depth as these poems converse with old verse forms and poetic traditions. In particular, Clarke mainly focuses in his book on the discussion of Yeats’ “Cuchulain Comforted” and “The Black Tower” both of them written in 1939, and Stevens’ “Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself” and “Of Mere Being” completed in 1954 and 1955 respectively. What is special about these poems is that they were written towards the end of both Yeats’ and Stevens’ life which offers an interesting insight into these two poets’ way of thinking, as evidenced in...

http://ejas.revues.org/10124 2013/09/28 - 14:56

Edward Clarke’s book entitled The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens (2012) constitutes an important addition to the scholarship that keeps on being steadily produced about W. B. Yeats’ and Wallace Stevens’ poetic practice. The uniqueness of Clarke’s publication lies in the in-depth commentary it provides on particular poems by these two major poets in an attempt to highlight the inventiveness in their conception and philosophical depth as these poems converse with old verse forms and poetic traditions. In particular, Clarke mainly focuses in his book on the discussion of Yeats’ “Cuchulain Comforted” and “The Black Tower” both of them written in 1939, and Stevens’ “Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself” and “Of Mere Being” completed in 1954 and 1955 respectively. What is special about these poems is that they were written towards the end of both Yeats’ and Stevens’ life which offers an interesting insight into these two poets’ way of thinking, as evidenced in...

http://ejas.revues.org/10124 2013/09/28 - 14:56

Christian Potschka’s doctoral dissertation, entitled Towards a Market in Broadcasting: Communications Policy in the UK and Germany and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012, commences a thorough and vigorous investigation of the broadcasting policies adopted by the UK and Germany, the two leading European countries in telecommunication systems. The book stresses the interconnections between the developments in press and broadcasting technologies. It then tries to cover all the stages from the end of spectrum scarcity to the “communication revolution” in the 1980s after the introduction of cable and satellite technology, followed by the later digital revolution and the hybridization of media production and distribution points at the turn of the twenty-first century. The study, divided into four parts, aims to bring to the fore those societal, political, historical and economic variables which have played a decisive role in the configuration of “media policies,” meaning those elemen...

http://ejas.revues.org/10126 2013/09/28 - 14:56

Christian Potschka’s doctoral dissertation, entitled Towards a Market in Broadcasting: Communications Policy in the UK and Germany and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012, commences a thorough and vigorous investigation of the broadcasting policies adopted by the UK and Germany, the two leading European countries in telecommunication systems. The book stresses the interconnections between the developments in press and broadcasting technologies. It then tries to cover all the stages from the end of spectrum scarcity to the “communication revolution” in the 1980s after the introduction of cable and satellite technology, followed by the later digital revolution and the hybridization of media production and distribution points at the turn of the twenty-first century. The study, divided into four parts, aims to bring to the fore those societal, political, historical and economic variables which have played a decisive role in the configuration of “media policies,” meaning those elemen...

http://ejas.revues.org/10126 2013/09/28 - 14:56

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Halle-Wittenberg Center for United States Studies has published a 'showcase' of their work in the field of American Studies, with the aim of  'spreading innovative approaches to American Studies in Germany.' In 2010, the enlarged and thoroughly revised edition of the 53rd issue of the American Studies Journal (AJS), “Lincoln's Legacy: Nation Building, Democracy and the Question of Race and Civil Rights” appeared, edited by Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, Professor of American and British Studies and Director of the Center for United States Studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The specific focus of this publication was the “implications of [Lincoln's] presidency on the United States and the world” (9), addressed according to the themes of nation building, democratic development, race relations and civil rights.  The articles focus on Lincoln's legacy by exploring various historical and literary sources, including Lincoln's speeches and pers...

http://ejas.revues.org/10127 2013/09/28 - 14:56

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Halle-Wittenberg Center for United States Studies has published a 'showcase' of their work in the field of American Studies, with the aim of  'spreading innovative approaches to American Studies in Germany.' In 2010, the enlarged and thoroughly revised edition of the 53rd issue of the American Studies Journal (AJS), “Lincoln's Legacy: Nation Building, Democracy and the Question of Race and Civil Rights” appeared, edited by Hans-Jürgen Grabbe, Professor of American and British Studies and Director of the Center for United States Studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The specific focus of this publication was the “implications of [Lincoln's] presidency on the United States and the world” (9), addressed according to the themes of nation building, democratic development, race relations and civil rights.  The articles focus on Lincoln's legacy by exploring various historical and literary sources, including Lincoln's speeches and pers...

http://ejas.revues.org/10127 2013/09/28 - 14:56

Jonathan R. Dull's American Naval History, 1607-1865: Overcoming the Colonial Legacy was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012. The author concedes that although many books have been published on the subject of American Naval History, 'a new survey' is necessary, 'particularly one with a broad perspective' (Dull vii). As a result, the central focus of Dull's study as the title indicates is a survey of the United States Navy, spanning from the early colonial era, right through to the American Civil War. It is Dull's central premise in this study, as well as his previously published The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British and French Navies, 1650-1865, that navies reflect diplomatic, economic and social developments. As such, Dull aims to provide an analysis of the establishment, growth, triumphs and failures of the United States Navy in relation to these developments.
Dull begins his study by outlining the hindrances the legacy of America's colonial past created fo...

http://ejas.revues.org/10129 2013/09/28 - 14:56

Jonathan R. Dull's American Naval History, 1607-1865: Overcoming the Colonial Legacy was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012. The author concedes that although many books have been published on the subject of American Naval History, 'a new survey' is necessary, 'particularly one with a broad perspective' (Dull vii). As a result, the central focus of Dull's study as the title indicates is a survey of the United States Navy, spanning from the early colonial era, right through to the American Civil War. It is Dull's central premise in this study, as well as his previously published The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British and French Navies, 1650-1865, that navies reflect diplomatic, economic and social developments. As such, Dull aims to provide an analysis of the establishment, growth, triumphs and failures of the United States Navy in relation to these developments.
Dull begins his study by outlining the hindrances the legacy of America's colonial past created fo...

http://ejas.revues.org/10129 2013/09/28 - 14:56

In this grand overview of transatlantic relations, associate professor of International History at Bologna University David Ellwood explains how European nations aspiring to modernity had sooner or later to confront the United States. This was best visible in the periods following the two world wars and the end of the Cold War. Contrary to the first impression that it was America’s military power that changed Europe, Ellwood asserts that it were US cultural examples that captivated European audiences. World War II grounded American cultural dominance in Europe and allowed it to spread its message of political salvation by means of mass propaganda throughout the remainder of the twentieth century. The key witness for this process is American film. The main target group was youth. The final goal was to create and spread prosperity.
Ellwood brilliantly shows how various European elites turned against American hegemony fearing that the masses would believe that the future was theirs, tha...

http://ejas.revues.org/10131 2013/09/28 - 14:56

In this grand overview of transatlantic relations, associate professor of International History at Bologna University David Ellwood explains how European nations aspiring to modernity had sooner or later to confront the United States. This was best visible in the periods following the two world wars and the end of the Cold War. Contrary to the first impression that it was America’s military power that changed Europe, Ellwood asserts that it were US cultural examples that captivated European audiences. World War II grounded American cultural dominance in Europe and allowed it to spread its message of political salvation by means of mass propaganda throughout the remainder of the twentieth century. The key witness for this process is American film. The main target group was youth. The final goal was to create and spread prosperity.
Ellwood brilliantly shows how various European elites turned against American hegemony fearing that the masses would believe that the future was theirs, tha...

http://ejas.revues.org/10131 2013/09/28 - 14:56

God’s Arbiters examines the centrality of religious rhetoric in the debates over the annexation of the Philippines that took place during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and its aftermath. Specifically, Americans conceived of their nation as having a divine mandate to model and defend freedom in the rest of the world. Harris shows that expansionists and anti-expansionists alike shared the vision of the United States as divinely ordained to a global redemptive mission. They also shared the fundamental contradiction at the core of this national narrative, namely, that the belief in exemplary American freedom coexisted with the conviction that only Anglo-Saxon Protestants could enact such freedom. Thus, one could argue either that the United States had the duty to annex the Philippines and govern them because their dark-skinned Catholic population needed tutelage in Christianity and republicanism, or that the United States should not annex the archipelago because the national mission ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10132 2013/09/28 - 14:56

John Updike scholarship seems to be thriving. After The John Updike Encyclopedia by Jack De Bellis (2000) another volume of encyclopedic nature has come out this year: Becoming John Updike: Critical Reception, 1958-2010 by Laurence W. Mazzeno, President Emeritus of Alvenia University, whose volumes on Austen, Dickens, Tennyson and Matthew Arnold make his latest one a classic. As its title indicates, the book presents critical reception that covers both journalistic and academic responses to Updike’s various writings. One would expect Becoming John Updike to be a book to be consulted rather than to be read. However, readers who wish to have a panoramic and comprehensive view of Updike’s critical reception over the years could read the volume in one go. It is quite ironic that Updike’s death in January 2009 made things easier for the critics since an entire corpus rather than a corpus in process appears more manageable in a way. Updike’s corpus is very impressive, but it has found its...

http://ejas.revues.org/10133 2013/09/28 - 14:56

This article proposes a reconstructive understanding of Populism from the perspective of Boston reform editor Benjamin O. Flower, one of its main publicists. It purposes both to recapture the meaning of “Populism” as it was understood in the 1890s and to trace its fate at the beginning of the 20th century - the ambiguous evolution of Flower, from champion of radical reforms to anti-Catholic crusader at the end of his life, will be used as a case study to examine how and why Populism might overlap with paranoid-style politics. This paper argues that such intellectual trajectories as Flower’s should not be dismissed as the expression of populist psychopathology but can be best understood as the byproduct of ideological conflicts within Progressivism. Populism could then be considered as just one moment in the confrontation between the more radical antimonopoly strand of Progressivism and the managerial liberalism fostered by the more technocratic elements among Progressives.

http://ejas.revues.org/10086 2013/09/05 - 23:30

“Menace II Society?” investigates cinematic portrayals of American urban poverty and the urban underclass as part of an ongoing public discourse on the nature of the urban poor, the causes and conditions of their poverty, and the appropriate responses from society. Movies have tended to portray poverty as environmentally caused and sustained, often directing ambitious characters toward criminality with a to-understand-all-is-to-forgive-all logic. During the silent and Depression eras, movies featured the urban poor prominently, but afterwards their role drastically shrunk and did not regain its place until the black underclass films of the 1990s, which, in a softened version of ‘60s radical critiques, redefined the deserving poor as rejecting the dominant socioeconomic system in favor of an often hedonistic rebellion. Subsequent white underclass movies followed this pattern, but more recently the American Dream has reasserted itself in popular underclass films, sounding a more posit...

http://ejas.revues.org/10062 2013/08/24 - 04:41

In a Los Angeles Times review of Stephen King’s tetralogy of novellas, Different Seasons (1982), Kenneth Atchity offers what has become almost a cliché of high praise: “To find the secret of his success, you have to compare King to Twain…. King’s stories tap the roots of myth buried in all our minds.”  To approach Mark Twain, it is suggested, is to approach something truly universal or at least something quintessentially American. H. L. Mencken echoes the sentiments of some of the most influential literary critics of the twentieth century when he calls Twain the “true father of our national literature, the first genuinely American author” (Foerstal 190). At the pinnacle of Twain’s work is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), which Lionel Trilling describes as “not less than definitive in American literature” (115-6). Shelley Fisher Fishkin calls Huck “the representative American” and the novel “the exemplary great American book” (Arac 184). According to Hemingway, “all modern ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10026 2013/08/22 - 20:09

Writing in the early 1800s, the Prussian military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz, articulated the often quoted dictum which essentially suggests that war is the continuation of politics by other means.  Clausewitz’s realist approach to politics, and war, by extension, has continued to have relevance up through to the present, even surviving Michel Foucault’s inversion of the phrase as well as the changing nature and dynamics of war in the postmodern age.  Such reflections represent a particular approach to the study of war which intimately involves the role of nation-states, institutions, political actors, geopolitics, as well as other elements linked to issues of power.  The study of war through the lens of power politics remains popular, perhaps justifiably so.  Equally worthy as an approach, however, to the study of war is what one will find in D. C. Gill’s volume titled, How We Are Changed By War:  A Study of Letters and Diaries from Colonial Conflicts to Operation Iraqi Freedom. ...

http://ejas.revues.org/10007 2013/07/31 - 08:50

This is not a work of Indigenous history. Rather, it an important collection of essays about the recent history of European ideas about –and cultural practices purporting to relate to– the Indigenous peoples of North America. Anyone who works on cultural appropriation, the imaginary Indian, or the symbolic relationship between Indigenous peoples and globalization will find much to work with here.
Although they are not presented in this order, there are some obvious clusters among the essays. Four of the contributions focus on European nationhoods, ethnic identities, and social formations as refracted through ideas about Native Americans. Literary scholar Jessica Dougherty-McMichael provides a close reading of a fascinating primary source: Rotha Mór an tSaoil by Micí Mac Gabhann, an Irishman who traveled the American and Canadian wests, encountering Blackfeet and Tagish men and women and creating a narrative that wrestles with Mac Gabhann’s status as both colonized and colonizer, whil...

http://ejas.revues.org/10008 2013/07/31 - 08:50

In her wide-ranging study Mirosława Buchholtz brings into the domain of literary theory and criticism the forgotten issue of value. She begins by offering in the Introduction a succinct and incisive account of current attempts to theorize the concept of value. She argues that these attempts, indebted as they are to philosophical canon, have tended to link value with such pragmatic pursuits as evaluation, teaching, and interpretation, and hence to encourage instrumental treatment of literature. Questioning what is usually taken for granted, Buchholtz locates her own interpretative endeavors far from the sphere of immediate usefulness. She comments on the dynamic view of literary value as exemplified in an essay by Barbara Herrnstein Smith and in Cristina Vischer Bruns’ recent book. Whereas Smith sees value in conjunction with the normative, and often oppressive, activity of evaluation, Bruns links it with the egalitarian process of reading, viewing the concepts of “the value of liter...

http://ejas.revues.org/10010 2013/07/31 - 08:50

A greatly anticipated, highly important publication, the Poetics of the Iconotext introduces – albeit with considerable delay – the insightful and wonderfully elaborate work of Liliane Louvel on word/image relations to the English-speaking audience, by bringing together excerpts mainly from the author’s key theoretical writings published in French – L’ œil du texte: Texte et Image dans la littérature Anglophone (1998), and Texte/Image: Images à lire, textes à voir (2002), but also her articles. Indeed, this introduction is a significant contribution to the rapidly growing field of word/image interaction studies, since, as Karen Jacobs notes in her introduction to this volume, “while Louvel is among the few acknowledged authorities on text/image relations in France, and her work is widely known and respected in Europe and beyond … it is less well-known in an Anglo-American context” (2). What is most important, however, and what Jacobs mentions only in a footnote, is that Louvel’s boo...

http://ejas.revues.org/10012 2013/07/31 - 08:50

William Faulkner’s well-known statement: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” captures an idée fixe Southerners have about history, past, and memory. Southerners’ pride in their region and their fetish for explaining its distinctive past found its way into booming heritage tourism. There seems to be a peculiar national interest in the region which is so much unlike the rest of the country. Karen Cox’s volume, Destination Dixie: Tourism & Southern History, offers a thought-provoking, finely wrought collection of scholarly essays to explore tourism in the American South.
Karen Cox, a professor of history at UNC Charlotte, is well versed in Southern history. Before editing the volume under analysis, she had already published two books about the American South: Dixie’s Daughters:The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (UP of Florida, 2004) delineates the history of an organization which honored the Lost Cause. In her other book, Dreami...

http://ejas.revues.org/10013 2013/07/31 - 08:50

The Old South’s Modern Worlds: Slavery, Region, and Nation in the Age of Progress, is a volume of essays that aims to question traditional views of Southern history and culture.  Positioning itself against popular stereotypes and a vast body of professional scholarship that promotes conceptualizations of the antebellum South as unprogressive, insular, and trapped in its own traditions, The Old South’s Modern Worlds rewards its reader with a broad-ranging examination of the South’s negotiation with the forces of modernization, both national and international, in the antebellum era.  According to the editors, the view of the South as parochial is based on a reductionist opposition that pits a “backward-looking,” “essentialized” Old South against a “forward-looking,” “dynamic and diverse” North.  To recast the Old South as a site of change and progress, this study undercuts simplistic as well as historically inaccurate articulations of the Old South as the “anti-North,” and attempts to...

http://ejas.revues.org/10024 2013/07/31 - 08:50

This article examines the representation of Germany in John Hawkes’s The Cannibal (1949) and Walter Abish’s How German Is It (1979). The two texts are brought together because the fictional versions of Germany they represent are constructed via a calculated employment of stereotyped images of the country. Here, I reconsider this use of stereotype, and discuss the relationship of the two novels with the traumatic events that constitute the background radiation to them. I draw out similarities in the novels’ textual engagement with trauma, stereotype, and narrative stylistics, but also differences – differences which are, in part, the result of the very different contexts, both literary and historical, in which the texts were written. By drawing on Abish’s autobiographical text Double Vision: a Self Portrait (2004) I argue that How German Is It might be profitably read as a “working through” of the author’s own traumatic relationship with his past, which allows me to briefly discuss m...

http://ejas.revues.org/9998 2013/06/21 - 07:04

This paper argues that the proliferating descriptive passages in Nicholson Baker's novels seem to short-circuit narrative progression instead of being mere additives to the narrative, in a textual exploration which blurs the traditional distinction between description and narration.
The essay focuses on three of Baker’s novels and comments on the evolution in Baker’s work between 1988 and 2003, from the exuberant description of objects in The Mezzanine (1988), to a more intimate rehistoricizing of the object as a trace of the narrator’s experience as a family man in Room Temperature (1990), to the repeated encoding of daily life as an ever-renewed mystery in A Box of Matches (2003).
Dwelling on the various strategies at work in Baker’s descriptions (such as his frequent experiment with conjunction and disjunction, or his particular use of metaphor and metonymy), this paper also shows how the humorous defamiliarization of the visible contributes to the resistance of the texts. From th...

http://ejas.revues.org/9996 2013/05/28 - 23:25

A few years ago, I was attracted by the critical concept of a «sociology of ignorance» (which did not exist as such) when I first read a paper by a noted scholar from UQAM who wrote an article about what he could not understand when observing a given social phenomenon. To my view, it was a pure waste of time (for the reader) and energy (from the sociologist who wrote this essay). Some academics are in such a privileged position they may write about almost anything, even on the things they claim not to understand, and be praised for doing so since they are raising new questions. This phenomenon became clear to me from the day I saw this same scholar repeating with conviction the same twisted ideas in a lecture at the Learned Societies conference in Montréal. Therefore, I was very much interested to read this new book on The Anthropology of Ignorance, co-edited by three anthropologists from Great-Britain. Their book comprises eight chapters mostly based on case studies, none of which ...

http://ejas.revues.org/9988 2013/04/19 - 08:34