Saturday 29 September 2007

News: Roundup

This week America witnessed the continuation of a number of stories which have achieved notoriety over the past few months - all of which, in some fashion, touch upon explosive areas of racial tension.

Thursday 27 September 2007

Letter from America: Rebecca Hunt

In the first of an ongoing series in which AMS students share some of their Year Abroad experiences, Rebecca Hunt gives us two glimpses of her time at the University of Redlands, California.

"During my time at Redlands, it snowed for the first time in 10 years. Many of my friends had never seen snow before and we all went out in our pyjamas (as it was early in the morning!) and made snow balls."
"This photo was taken whilst driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to Orange County from Santa Barbara. Just after I took it I saw two dolphins swimming in the sea which was pretty amazing!"

Tuesday 25 September 2007

News: Little Rock, 50 Years On

One of the most dramatic moments in the history of the American Civil Rights Movement took place 50 years ago today, on 25 September 1957, when nine black students desegregated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.

For weeks the pro-segregationist governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, had defied the law by ordering the state's National Guard to surround the school and prevent any black students from entering.

Finally the long stand-off was ended when President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock. On 25th September the nine students were escorted under armed guard past jeering white mobs and into the school.

In defiance of powerful southern segregationists the President threw the weight of the federal government behind the legal rights of the black students, thus helping to energize the emerging Civil Rights Movement. Occurring under the glare of national and international media publicity, the Little Rock crisis became an iconic and defining moment in modern American history.

Read more about America’s commemorations in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Monday 24 September 2007


A warm welcome to all new AMS students; welcome back to those who are returning; bon voyage to our year abroad students. Good luck to all for the forthcoming semester.

Wednesday 19 September 2007

News: Florida Student Questions Kerry, Tasered

Controversy reigns in America about the restraint and tasering of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. Florida police officers attempted to remove Meyer from a political debate featuring John Kerry; when he resisted, they tasered him. Video of the incident can be seen below:

The full story can be followed in the Gainesville Sun; comment can be found in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Today, University of Florida students have been staging marches and sit-ins in protest. Meyer's plea to police, "Don't tase me, bro," has become a rallying cry.

Friday 14 September 2007

Conference: 1968: The Year of Living Dangerously

This weekend, AMS is very happy to be hosting its second international conference in two weeks. Following the signal success of Race, Memory and Reclamation, this weekend's 1968: The Year of Living Dangerously American Studies Network conference will be exploring the events of that tumultuous year from a variety of perspectives. A warm welcome to all those attending.

Friday 7 September 2007

News: The 'N' Word

Another news update to mark the start of Race, Memory and Reclamation today. Following this summer's well publicised Big Brother / Michael Richards / Don Imus 'n' word debacles, black American comedian Eddie Griffin was last night removed from stage for repeatedly using the word - as reported by the Guardian. This is symptomatic of a wider movement in America, spearheaded by the Abolish the N-Word organization.

Thursday 6 September 2007

Conference: Race, Memory and Reclamation

A warm welcome to all of those who are attending this weekend's AMS conference, Race, Memory and Reclamation. A full conference programme, including abstracts of proposals, is available here.

News: Slavery and Memory

In keeping with the theme of this week's AMS conference, a few recent news stories about slavery and memory:
  • Brown University has launched a commission "to consider how best to publicly acknowledge Brown's ties to the transatlantic slave trade and the history of slavery in Rhode Island"
  • Historian J. R. Kerr-Ritchie asks, "Whatever Happened to August First?" - the traditional celebration of the British abolition of colonial slavery
  • London mayor Ken Livingstone apologised for Britain's role in the slave trade at the first Annual Slavery Memorial Day ceremony last week, and called for the event to become UK wide next year