This essay focuses on a remarkable friendship album found among the papers of the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. Made in 1824 by a Chinese student, "Henry Martyn Alan" or "Wu Lan," this album is quite possibly the earliest book produced by a Chinese person in the United States. In a provocative educational experiment, the Cornwall Foreign Mission School provided a Christian education to an extraordinary range of "tawny and dusky youth," hoping to prepare them for missionary work in their native communities. Most research on the school has focused on its founding Hawaiian students and on the scandalous elopement of Cherokee students John Ridge and Elias Boudinot with two white girls, precipitating the closing of the school. Despite this recent historical work, no one has studied the five Cantonese youth whose 1818 enrollment predates virtually all historical discussions of Chinese presence in the U.S. This essay traces Wu Lan through the missionary press, and through a reading of this extraordinary album. This friendship album combines conventional Christian poetry copied and signed by various Cornwall students, watercolor drawings in an essentially Chinese style, and inscriptions in Chinese. Most of the Chinese texts simply translate the English poetry or serve as titles for the drawings, but two of them are love poems directed to the recipient of the album, Wu Lan's teacher, Miss Cherry Stone. Containing entries from many students–one wonderful trait of this album is how the students sign their nationality alongside their names–the book documents this community of foreign young men being trained in Christian "civilization," including the making of such books. I argue that the archival recovery of this friendship album powerfully alters our national narratives, providing us with nuanced and intimate access to one of the very earliest Chinese American interactions, and with it new ways of thinking about the processes of assimilation and conversion so central to ethnic and racial relations in the United States.
This essay revisits post-Stonewall lesbian and gay U.S. cultures of the 1970s to analyze the anti-urban politics of two rural-based journals—RFD ("Radical Fairy Digest") and Country Women—as they countered the metronormativity of slick leisure magazines such as Advocate. It explores how white gay male "ghetto" urbanity reprinted itself as a normalizing print style in nationalizing glossies, and how RFD, alongside Country Women, responded to this historical packaging with oppositional stylistics of their own. Resistant to the sophisticated middle-class bicoastality offered in Advocate, both working-class rural-based journals extended the radical critiques of the Gay Liberation Front to produce "critical rusticity," an intersectional opportunity to geographically, corporeally, and aesthetically inhabit non-normative sexualities that offers new possibilities for the sexually marginalized outside the metropolis as well as inside it. Hence the essay examines the visual cultures of rural-based queers that spoke volumes about the calcification of U.S. metronormativity over the course of the 1970s as RFD and Country Women together promoted "rural stylistics" dedicated to the unsophisticated, the rustic, the anti-urbane, and the anti-cosmopolitan. Both of these journals exhibited complicated, sometimes flawed, gender and racial politics as they critiqued the Advocate's urbanity. Acknowledging their respective complexities, the essays reveals how a working-class "country journal for gay men everywhere" presented alternative aesthetic opportunities to dominant U.S. gay lifestyles via rural U.S. lesbian-separatism. Interrogating these anti-middle class journals thus illuminates how stylistics—broadly conceived—continues to function as a point of political and cultural contestation for gay urbanites and their detractors in post-Stonewall U.S. queer cultures and queer studies.
This essay argues that activist and preacher Carl McIntire should be understood as an important figure in the history of fundamentalism, radio, and right-wing activism in America. As the only radio broadcaster to lose his license because of the Fairness Doctrine, McIntire was a central player, both literally and symbolically, in the history of governmental regulation of speech. McIntire's story—and the bigger story of the rise and fall of the Fairness Doctrine—deepens our understanding of the legal system's historically shifting definitions of what constitutes censorship, free speech, and the "public interest." McIntire's career also complicates our previous conceptions of the history of fundamentalism and the emergence of the New Christian Right in the 1970s. McIntire is important, then, not only as a figure in the history of media regulation and a symbol of fundamentalism in conflict with liberalism, but also as a symbol of the Old Christian Right in conflict with the New Christian Right.
McIntire lost to both his secular foe, the FCC, and his Christian foes, the neo-evangelicals. Both defeats had interesting long-term implications. McIntire's FCC case was used as evidence by right-wing senators like Strom Thurmond for years as they persistently fought the Fairness Doctrine in Congress. This erstwhile "extremist" position against government regulation would, under President Reagan, become normalized as merely "conservative." Making a similar shift from right-wing "extremism" to mainstream "conservatism," fundamentalists became neo-evangelicals in the post-World War II years, were transformed into the New Christian Right in the 70s, and were given the friendlier "conservative evangelical" label in the 90s, finally achieving a realignment with a more moderate conservative image. Rather than speaking Bible-thumping language in the political arena, today's conservative evangelicals use a secular-sounding rights-based discourse that they have carefully shaped to meet their needs. One might say that the extremist rough edges have been rubbed off of both deregulatory discourse and, more generally, Christian right-wing discourse. And McIntire embodied those edges. McIntire, then, should be of interest to opponents of today's Christian Right, because he embodies the extremist history that right-wing evangelical politicos have, as they've repackaged themselves as "conservative" but not "extremist," attempted to spin out of existence.
The American Civil War wrought tremendous changes on the young nation. Coinciding with the rapid evolution of industrial capitalism, the conflict not only influenced the course of economic development but also served as a compelling model of cataclysmic battle used by journalists, politicians, labor activists, and academics to come to terms with the tremendous strike waves of the late 19th century. The notion of two great forces arrayed in battle over the very future of the nation was a powerful image, one that the media and others used to "frame" the massive strike events of the 1870's and beyond. Examining popular press materials and employing framing theory as a mode of analysis, this essay explores the influence of the Civil War in shaping conceptualizations of class conflict. In particular, attention will be given to the Great Strike of 1877 and the discursive transformations that accompanied it. If understood in the context of America's traumatic war experience, the peculiar militaristic way that Americans comprehended society—being rent by an "irrepressible" class war—makes much more sense. This argument also offers an alternative interpretative lens for understanding the rhetoric of Progressives who pursued a peaceful settlement for what they termed the "industrial war."