Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Opinion: Bev Cadby on American Consumerism

Black Friday shoppers

by Bev Cadby

America’s baby boomers are the first generation to have been submitted to media manipulation from the moment of their conception in the 1950s through their childhoods and working lives; now, with many of them in their retirement, they are still being ‘courted’ by marketers.

Friday, 25 November 2011

News: Professor Nick Selby's Inaugural Now Online

(from Susan Howe's "Thorow", via)
Some viewing for the weekend: Professor Nick Selby's inaugural lecture, Reading Difficulty: What's American about American Poetry, is now available to view in full here. Enjoy, and feel free to ask any questions you might have below!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

News: Thanksgiving Round-Up 2011

(Norman Rockwell, via)
Happy Thanksgiving, America. Or commiserations on the National Day of Mourning, depending on your point of view. Either way, link round-up below!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Letter from America: Tom Macarte

Letter from America - an occasional series of posts by students on their Year Abroad in America.

by Tom Macarte

Hi. My name’s Tom. I am currently studying abroad at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I could go on about how wonderful it is here, how many bluegrass and country gigs I am going to, how much fried chicken and sweet tea I am consuming, etc. etc. Instead, I am going to tell you about when I went to the State Fair in Raleigh, NC’s capital.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Research Seminar: Karen Huntress

This week, we're excited to welcome Karen Huntress to the School of American Studies. Karen is currently the Cultural Outreach Officer for the US Embassy in London, and she'll be talking about issues related to race, gender and American justice.

In the meantime, Karen blogs for the Embassy here, and you can follow her on Twitter here.

Arts 2.84, 3pm, all welcome.

Monday, 21 November 2011

"A Frisson of Sexual Deviance": Today's American Vampire

by Andi Bawden

Before I get started, I have spent days thinking over possible topics and finally made the decision whilst watching True Blood in my pyjamas and trying not to look at the stack of reading on my desk.  Over these past few weeks it has seemed impossible to escape the media frenzy over the most recent Twilight offering, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are plastered everywhere you look and it doesn’t seem like their teenage fan base will be running out of enthusiasm any time soon. Breaking Dawn: Part One took almost $140 million in its opening weekend in the US and the enduring fascination with the vampire seems to have exploded with the genre of ‘paranormal romance.’  Twilight is not alone in exploiting this new fashion, with a number of American television shows, films and books featuring the vampire as both villain and romantic hero.  Whilst True Blood and Anne Rice’s vampire novels remain my personal favourites, other examples include books by L. J. Smith and L. K. Hamilton, the Underworld films, and television shows like The Vampire Diaries.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Undisciplined: A New UEA PG Journal Seeks Submissions

By Neekta Khorsand

Undisciplined is an online-based postgraduate journal started this semester by none other than myself for the purpose of creating community among UEA PGs across disciplines while also providing a platform through which PGs (taught and research) can express themselves whether academically or creatively in areas that their research or focus may not necessarily allow. Centering itself around themes, Undisciplined's first theme is "Dissent." Submissions can take nearly any form so long as it relates to the theme and hasn't been published elsewhere. The deadline for submission is December 15, 2011. Feel free to contact me by email with any questions: n.khorsand@uea.ac.uk.

New Campaign Aims to Increase Awareness of HIV and AIDS

by Natasha Broad

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV and AIDS and, to commemorate this event and highlight the importance of ongoing research into the disease, a new campaign has been launched by fashion designer Kenneth Cole, in collaboration with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and amfAR.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

"Helplessness Blues" And The Burden of American Individualism

By Neekta Khorsand
"Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes -- Soundcloud

The title track of Fleet Foxes’ sophomore album*, “Helplessness Blues,” is a series of contradictory statements and questions uncomfortably abandoned in the last line. However, its opening lines are ones to which many Americans, regardless of generation, can relate. Lead vocalist and songwriter for Fleet Foxes, Robin Pecknold sings, “I was raised up believing I was somehow unique/ Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see.” In less than 25 words, Pecknold has summarized an aspect of the American tradition of exceptionalism. Granted, the 25-year-old musician is a product of his generation, one raised under the careful and attentive mode of parenting in which adults applaud and praise even the slightest of achievements and encourage kids to wholly be “themselves.” Born exactly a year after Pecknold (we share the same birthday), I was raised within this same mindset and distinctly remember the plethora of uplifting stickers my teachers placed on horrendous drawings and scrawls. Pecknold’s words reflect not only a generational focus on the incredible value placed upon the self within American culture but that focus as a continuation of the longstanding American identity as one of deep individualism.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Race-ing images and words: the power of linguistics and visual culture in maintaining racial oppression

by Jon Ward

In response to last week's American Studies Research Seminar, presented wonderfully by A. Robert Lee in a talk entitled "Postcolonial/PostIndian: Literary and Other Representations of Native America", combined with the timely reading of some interesting blog posts about the cultural appropriation of various Halloween outfits, I started to think about the importance of words and images in maintaining racial oppression, and the need to be aware of the potential cultural implications.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Research Seminar: Roger Thompson

At this week's research seminar, AMS's own Professor Roger Thompson will be talking about: "From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692."

Roger is the author of a wide range of books about colonial New England, and is about to publish a new book which shares the title of his talk.

Wednesday November 2nd, 4pm, A2.86. All welcome.

Opinion: To blog, or not to blog?

The origin of a different kind of Silver Surfer

by Bev Cadby

To blog, or not to blog; that is the question. You see, I’m a mature student and it’s not until you actually get to university you realise there are mature students…and then there’s me! So when an email came around asking for people to sit on the Social Media Editorial Committee for the School of American Studies, I thought why not?