Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies

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Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies

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A More Conservative Place

Intellectual Culture in the Bush Era

An intervention towards understanding the recent dark political and intellectual days

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New World Courtships

Transatlantic Alternatives to Companionate Marriage

Melissa M. Adams-Campbell

Feminist literary critics have long recognized that the novel’s marriage plot can shape the lives of women readers; however, they have largely traced the effects of this influence through a monolithic understanding of marriage. New World Courtships is the first scholarly study to recover a geographically diverse array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels that actively compare marriage practices from the Atlantic world. These texts trouble Enlightenment claims that companionate marriage leads to women’s progress by comparing alternative systems for arranging marriage and sexual relations in the Americas. Attending to representations of marital diversity in early transatlantic novels disrupts nation-based accounts of the rise of the novel and its relation to “the” marriage plot. It also illuminates how and why cultural differences in marriage mattered in the Atlantic world—and shows how these differences might help us to reimagine marital diversity today.

This book will appeal to scholars of literature, women’s studies, and early American history.

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A Power to Translate the World

New Essays on Emerson and International Culture

David LaRocca

This thought-provoking collection gathers a roster of seasoned Emerson scholars to address anew the way non-American writers and texts influenced Emerson, while also discussing the manner in which Emerson’s writings influenced a diverse array of non-American authors. This volume includes new, original, and engaging research on crucial topics that have for the most part been absent from recent critical literature. While the motivations for this project will be familiar to scholars of literary studies and the history of philosophy, its topics, themes, and texts are distinctly novel. A Power to Translate the World provides a touchstone for a new generation of scholars trying to orient themselves to Emerson’s ongoing relevance to global literature and philosophy.

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Prison Area, Independence Valley

American Paradoxes in Political Life and Popular Culture

Rob Kroes

The study of prisons brought Tocqueville to America. For Rob Kroes, one of Europe’s most distinguished authorities on contemporary American culture, it was rather the other way around. For Kroes, it was deep knowledge of American culture that brought him back to America and face to face with a couple of highway signs, Tocquevillian in their portent, that invited motorists to exit from Interstate 80 in Nevada toward a place called Independence Valley and to keep their eyes open for a “Prison Area.” In this collection of essays, Kroes invites us to take these two signs seriously for their capacity to deepen our insights into America’s cultural contradictions, especially how, after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the US government’s response altered the meaning of America for Americans and Europeans alike. The author’s fascination with the myriad ways in which America changes face, from hard power to soft, from uses of force to the power of entertainment, but always holding the attention of publics across the globe, is what ties his work together. The essays here touch on diverse topics such as photography (“Falling Man” and Holocaust imagery), music (in Broadway and Hollywood musicals), film (Django Unchained), American exceptionalism (in an interesting counter to dog-eared dogma), and the difficulties of the first “white president of color.” Like his predecessors, Tocqueville and Johan Huizinga, Kroes offers a clear-eyed assessment of America on the ground, love it or hate it.

This readable and sharp-penned critique of America and American culture and power will appeal to Americanists across a broad swath of disciplines.

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The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen

From Sokol’niki Park to Chicago’s South Side

Kate A. Baldwin

This book demonstrates the ways in which the kitchen—the centerpiece of domesticity and consumerism—was deployed as a recurring motif in the ideological and propaganda battles of the Cold War. Beginning with the famous Nixon–Khrushchev kitchen debate, Baldwin shows how Nixon turned the kitchen into a space of exception, while contemporary writers, artists, and activists depicted it as a site of cultural resistance. Focusing on a wide variety of literature and media from the United States and the Soviet Union, Baldwin reveals how the binary logic at work in Nixon’s discourse—setting U.S. freedom against Soviet totalitarianism—erased the histories of slavery, gender subordination, colonialism, and racial genocide. The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen treats the kitchen as symptomatic of these erasures, connecting issues of race, gender, and social difference across national boundaries.

This rich and rewarding study—embracing the literature, film, and photography of the era—will appeal to a broad spectrum of scholars.

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Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies

Winfried Fluck

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.

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Shock and Awe

American Exceptionalism and the Imperatives of the Spectacle in Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

William V. Spanos

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.

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Transcendental Resistance

The New Americanists and Emerson's Challenge

Johannes Voelz

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.

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Writing for Justice

Victor Séjour, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and the Age of Transatlantic Emancipations

Elèna Mortara

In Writing for Justice, Elèna Mortara presents a richly layered study of the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of mid-nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, through close readings of the life and work of Victor Séjour, an expat American Creole from New Orleans living in Paris. In addition to writing The Mulatto, an early story on slavery in Saint-Domingue, Séjour penned La Tireuse de cartes (The Fortune-Teller, 1859), a popular play based on the famed Mortara case. In this historical incident, Pope Pius IX kidnapped Edgardo Mortara, the child of a Jewish family living in the Papal States. The details of the play’s production—and its reception on both sides of the Atlantic—are intertwined with the events of the Italian Risorgimento and of pre–Civil War America. Writing for Justice is full of surprising encounters with French and American writers and historical figures, including Hugo, Hawthorne, Twain, Napoleon III, Garibaldi, and Lincoln. As Elèna Mortara passionately argues, the enormous amount of public attention received by the case reveals an era of underappreciated transatlantic intellectual exchange, in which an African American writer used notions of emancipation in religious as well as racial terms, linking the plight of blacks in America to that of Jews in Europe, and to the larger battles for freedom and nationhood advancing across the continent.

This book will appeal both to general readers and to scholars, including historians, literary critics, and specialists in African American studies, Jewish, Catholic, or religious studies, multilingual American literature, francophone literature, theatrical life, nineteenth-century European politics, and cross-cultural encounters.

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