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This volume is the outcome of a transatlantic conversation on the topic "Transnational America," in which more than sixty scholars from universities in the United States and Germany gathered to assess the historical significance of and examine the academic prospects for the "transnational turn" in American studies.
This development has brought about the most significant re-imagining of the field since its inception. The "transnational" has subsumed competing spatial and temporal orientations to the subject and has dismantled the foundational tenets and premises informing the methodology, periodization, pedagogy, and geographical locations of U.S. American studies, but transnational American studies scholars have not yet provided a coherent portrait of their field. This volume constitutes an effort to produce this needed portrait. The editors have gathered work from a host of senior and up-and-coming Americanists to compile a field-defining project that will influence both scholars and students of American studies for many years to come.
One of Rousseau's later and most puzzling works and never before available in English, this neglected autobiographical piece was the product of the philosopher's old age and sense of persecution. Long viewed simply as evidence of his growing paranoia, it consists of three dialogues between a character named "Rousseau" and one identified only as "Frenchman" who discuss the bad reputation and works of an author named "Jean-Jacques." Dialogues offers a fascinating retrospective of his literary career.
American Exceptionalism and the Imperatives of the Spectacle in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Inspired by the foreign policy entanglements of recent years, William V. Spanos offers a dramatic interpretation of Twain's classic A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, offering a heretofore unexplored assessment of American exceptionalism and the place of a global America in the American imaginary. Spanos insists that Twain identifies with his protagonist, particularly in his defining use of the spectacle, and thus with an American exceptionalism that uncannily anticipates the George W. Bush administration's normalization of the state of exception and the imperial policy of "preemptive war," unilateral "regime change," and "shock and awe" tactics. Equally stimulating is Spanos's thoroughly original ontology of American exceptionalism and imperialism and his tracing of these forces through a chronological examination of Twain studies and criticism over the past century.
As an examination of an overlooked text and a critical history of American studies from its origins in the nation-oriented "Myth and Symbol" school of the Cold War era into its present globalizing or transnationalizing perspective, Shock and Awe will appeal to a broad audience of American literature scholars and beyond.
The Saving and Selling of Hollywood
Hollywood is placeless, timeless, and iconic, a key fabricator and forger of American cultural myths and stories. How, then, will the history of Hollywood be written? Stardust Monuments spotlights the enduring efforts to memorialize and canonize the history and meaning of Hollywood and American film culture. In this engaging analysis, Alison Trope explores the tensions between art and commerce as they intersect in a range of nonprofit and for-profit institutions and products. An insightful tour of Hollywood’s past, present, and future, Stardust Monuments examines the establishment of film libraries and museums beginning in the mid 1930s, the many failed attempts to open a Hollywood museum ranging from the 1960s to today, and the more successful recent corporate efforts to use Hollywood’s past in theme restaurants and parks, classic movie channels, and DVD boxed sets. This fascinating narrative details the ongoing struggle to champion and codify Hollywood’s legacy, a struggle engaged in by Hollywood stars and corporate executives, as well as memorabilia collectors and users of IMDb.
Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past
Technologies of History is an engrossing and innovative consideration of how history is constructed today, exploring our most basic relationship to history and the diverse contributions of visual and computational media to conceptions of the past. Embracing the varieties of history offered by experimental film, television, video games, and digital media, Steve F. Anderson mines the creative and discursive potential of this profane and esoteric historiography. He offers a highly readable and consistently fascinating discussion of historiography in visual media, with an emphasis on alternate or fantastic histories, including Star Trek time travel episodes, fake documentaries, films created from home movies and found footage, and video games about cultural traumas such as the siege at Waco and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Examining artifacts from the most commercial Hollywood product to the modernist avant-garde, this bold and ambitious polemic seeks to address historians, media scholars, and general readers alike, encouraging all to recognize, engage with, and perhaps even learn from these heterodox histories and the powerful sway they hold over our historical consciousness.
Connecting Technology, Aesthetics, and a Process Philosophy of Time
An original consideration of the temporal in digital art and aesthetics Eschewing the traditional focus on object/viewer spatial relationships, Timothy Scott Barker’s Time and the Digital stresses the role of the temporal in digital art and media. The connectivity of contemporary digital interfaces has not only expanded the relationships between once separate spaces but has increased the complexity of the temporal in nearly unimagined ways. Invoking the process philosophy of Whitehead and Deleuze, Barker strives for nothing less than a new philosophy of time in digital encounters, aesthetics, and interactivity. Of interest to scholars in the fields of art and media theory and philosophy of technology, as well as new media artists, this study contributes to an understanding of the new temporal experiences emergent in our interactions with digital technologies.
The New Americanists and Emerson's Challenge
A timely and engrossing critique of the New Americanists Johannes Voelz offers a critique of the New Americanists through a stimulating and original reexamination of the iconic figure of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Voelz argues against the prevailing tendency among Americanists to see Emerson as the product of an “all-pervasive scope of cultural power.” Instead he shows Emerson’s philosophy to be a deft response to the requirements of lecturing professionally at the newly built lyceums around the country. Voelz brings to light a fascinating organic relationship between Emerson’s dynamic style of thinking and the uplifting experience demanded by his public. This need for an audience-directed philosophy, the author argues, reveals the function of Emerson’s infamous inconsistencies on such issues as representation, identity, and nation. It also poses a major counter-argument to the New Americanists’ dim view of Emerson’s individualism and his vision of the private man in public. Challenging the fundamental premises of the New Americanists, this study is an important, even pathbreaking guide to the future of American studies.
ReBlurring the Boundaries
How do fiction, film, music, the Internet, and plastic, performative, and fine arts negotiate their shapes, formats, and contents in our contemporary world? More important, how does their interaction shape their techniques of representation, strategies of communication, and forms of reception? In the light of these ongoing interactive (and intermedial) processes, the fields of cultural studies and American studies are challenged to restructure and reorganize themselves. Less interested in the mere fact of traditional art forms meeting new media such as film, video, and digital arts, the collection concentrates on the ways in which the fundamental theoretical constructs of the media have forever changed. This book offers the latest in global intermedial studies, including discussions of digital photography, comics and graphic novels, performance art, techno, hypertext, and video games.
Film Journals and Film Culture in Peru
Writing National Cinema traces the twenty-year history of the Peruvian film journal Hablemos de cine alongside that of Peruvian filmmaking and film culture. Similar to the influential French journal Cahiers du cinema, Hablemos de cine began with a group of young critics interested in claiming the director's use of mise-en-scene as the exclusive method of film analysis rather than thematic or star-oriented topics -- hence, the title of the publication, derived from their battle cry at post-screening discussions: "Let's talk about film." Their critical authority grew with the rise of local filmmaking and the nationalist fervor of the late 1960s and early 1970s. When government sponsorship spurred feature filmmaking in the mid-1970s, their perspective eschewed the politically militant readings that characterized most writing and film from the rest of Latin America at the time. By the 1980s, the critics at Hablemos de cine had helped to engender a commercial, Hollywood-influenced cinematic vision--best exemplified by Peruvian auteur Francisco Lombardi--and stimulated a unique, if isolating, national identity through film. The first book-length study of Peruvian film culture to appear in English, Middents's work offers thoughtful consideration of the impact of criticism on the visual stylings of a national cinema.