Tuesday 30 September 2008

News: Remembering Paul Newman

by Katie McFarlane
It was a sad day for film students in the AMS faculty on Friday, as news broke that Hollywood legend Paul Newman had lost his battle with cancer aged 83.

Perhaps best known for his roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, Newman starred in over 60 films spanning across six decades. Younger fans will no doubt remember him for his part in Road to Perdition, as well as the voice of Doc Hudson in the latest Pixar release, Cars.

Despite his great successes onscreen, deservedly winning the Best Actor Oscar in 1987 for his portrayal of Fast Eddie in The Color Of Money (a role he first immortalised in The Hustler, below), Newman lived an undeniably private life. He constantly guarded his wife, Joanne Woodward, to whom he had been married fifty years, and his five children, from the harsh eye of the public.

Newman did, however, step into the limelight when he realized that his fame could help him to help others, and thus, he will also be greatly remembered for the charity work which his life came to revolve around. From setting up the Hole in The Wall Association, a worldwide network of summer camps for terminally ill children, to creating Newman's Own, a non-profit food range, Newman has donated both his time and money to helping out those who need it most.

He was certainly not a typical celebrity by modern standards. In an industry now witnessing the breakdown of marriages, careers, and even the stars themselves almost everyday, Newman will undeniably be remembered for his successful endurance in every aspect of his life.
There is little that can be said to comfort all those he has affected over the years, and his co-star from Road to Perdition, Daniel Craig, admits that Hollywood life will no longer be the same: “He was a beautiful man....I think an era just ended.”

News: Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week, an event that's been running since 1982 in "celebration of the freedom to read." It's sponsored by a wealth of significant organisations: the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. If you're looking for some inspiration about which banned books to read, you can consult the American Library Association's list of the ten most challenged authors of 2007:

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

It's also worth nothing that this year, as with most things, the election has also made its presence felt in the event. Much debate (largely fanned by a widely circulated e-mail) has surrounded the issue of whether Sarah Palin sought to ban books whilst mayor of Wasilla.

Update: Google is also lending its support.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Research Seminars: Carter Revard

This semester's research seminars begin tomorrow, and we're doing it in fine style. Poet, medievalist, and Native American activist Carter Revard will be presenting readings and a discussion of his work. If you'd like to know more about Carter Revard in advance of Monday's seminar, then Salt Publishing has a selection of readings and video available here.

Monday 29th September, A2.51 - at the all new time of 5pm. All welcome.

Saturday 27 September 2008

Election News: Presidential Debate - In Full

As promised, the debate in full:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

Part 10:

But was it a damp squib?

Friday 26 September 2008

Election News: Warming Up For the Debate

As anticipation builds for the Presidential Debate, the internet is responding in new and diverting ways. Leading the pack is the C-Span Debate Hub - your one-stop shop for Presidential Debates. If you're awake for the debate at 2am it should provide you with live-streaming (though whether copyright issues preclude it working in the UK is another matter). But beyond that, it's got some clever whistles and bells. When things get going it will put together a timeline of the debate, including transcripts and video. It's aggregating twitter and blog feeds that reference the debate, and it's also going to have a cloud of the debate's keywords as they emerge. Neat stuff. Still want more? Then you might want to check out Slate's debate guide, and the nicely specific Presidential Debate Blog.

Television: John Adams & more

As the election approaches, various television spectacles are being readied. More 4 seems to be leading the pack, and tomorrow (Saturday 27, 5.30pm) they'll begin screening HBO's "miniseries event" about the life and times of John Adams, which should provide a pretty painless introduction to / refresher about the revolutionary period. More 4 is also showing the presidential debates in full (though not in real time). They'll doubtless make their way to youtube before then, however, and if and when they do, we'll feature them here. And it looks like the debate is indeed going ahead - at least according to the latest reports (like this one in the New York Times).

News: "Just Because She Sings and Dances in Her Underwear..."

Our very own Sarah Churchwell has been causing some buzz in the blogging world, as our friends at america adrift have highlighted. Here's the first paragraph of her post on new political blog The Motley Moose (cross-posted at the Daily Kos):

Be careful what you wish for. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I was an earnest neophyte feminist at Vassar, earnestly debating the meanings of feminism, sexism, and choice, I used to wish, earnestly, that we would have a political campaign that actually discussed these issues. And this year I finally got one. Sort of. Only the disingenuousness of the conversation we're actually having is something that I, in my actual ingenuousness then, could never have envisioned. But democracy being what it is, and Republicans being what they are, it's turned into something very twisted, indeed.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Election News: Debate Postponement?

Tomorrow (Friday 26th September) was supposed to be a landmark day in the election campaign: the University of Mississippi was to play host to the first Presidential Debate. As of now, that's no longer a certainty. In a(nother) surprise move, John McCain announced that he will be suspending his campaign so that he can return to Washington to help with the discussions surrounding the current financial crisis (in particular, the proposed $700 billion bail out). He also reached out to Obama to postpone tomorrow's debate. So far, Obama is rejecting that request: “Part of the president’s job is to deal with more than one thing at once. In my mind it’s more important than ever.” He is, however, following McCain's lead and heading to Washington. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these moves are receiving acres of coverage. Comment can be found in Salon, Slate, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

And finally: McCain also cancelled on David Letterman last night - and the results weren't pretty (via Edge of the American West):

News: Remembering David Foster Wallace

One of the more miserable stories of the summer was the death of David Foster Wallace - probably best known as the author of Infinite Jest (1996) - at the age of 46. His passing precipitated an outpouring of tributes and memories (see Slate, Salon, the New Yorker, and the New York Times for starters). But our loss is also our gain. Harper's has made all of the stories that Wallace wrote for them freely available here.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

News: Welcome Back

Well, it was quite a summer: economic meltdowns, vice-presidential picks and a variety of hurricanes. Containing Multitudes is now officially back on the case, so you'll know where to look for the stories that matter. If you spot anything of interest or would like to contribute to the AMS blog, drop us a line. Otherwise, have a great semester - and happy reading.

Monday 8 September 2008

News: University of Southern Denmark - Call for Papers

Another call for papers to ease us back into the semester. This time, it's from our friends at the University of Southern Denmark. Here's a snippet:


Seminar at University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Friday-Saturday, November 14-15, 2008

We are inviting 30-minute presentations addressing any aspect of the interdisciplinary field of Latino/a studies. We welcome traditional research papers as well as methodological considerations from multiple disciplinary, theoretical, historical, and geographic perspectives.

All proposals are welcome, but we are particularly interested in research papers that focus on transnational identities and fall within one or several of the following areas:
  • Economic, social, and cultural relationships between Latin American and US Latino/a communities
  • Social, political, and cultural interactions of Latino/as with other ethnic and racial groups in the US and in between different Latino/a groups in the US
  • Cultural and artistic representations of Latino/a experiences
  • Political mobilization of Latino/as in the US
Please email max 400-word proposals as Word attachment, together with one-page CVs, to Dr. Anne Magnussen, magnussen@hist.sdu.dk, by September 15, 2008.

For more information see here.

Monday 1 September 2008

News: as|peers Call For Papers

Our friends at as|peers have got in touch to let us know that they've put out a new call for papers. Interested graduate students should take a look here. Here's a snippet:
Call for Papers On Migration and Mobility

Calls for submissions by 31 October 2008

American Studies has always been interested in different notions of migration. Publications and course catalogs around the world testify to the role it has played and continues to play in both scholarly research and academic teaching. Recent concepts of 'mobility' can contribute to a new and richer understanding of the movement of people. Thus, we are calling for submissions scrutinizing migration and mobility, their relation to cultures and identities, and the narratives, fictions, and plots they generate. We invite contributors to engage areas such as old and new groups of migrants, the various directions and scopes of ‘mobility,’ different spaces of migration, or any other theme relating to the topic.
In other news: Containing Multitudes will be regular updating again soon - complete with some exciting new student contributors. Stay tuned.