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Contributors to this collection, edited by Claire Potter and Renee Romano, consider the wide range of challenges the practice of contemporary history poses. These essays address sources like television and video games, the ethics of writing about living subjects, questions of privacy and copyright law, and the possibilities that new technologies offer for writing history. Doing Recent History offers guidance and insight to any researcher considering tackling the not-so-distant past. Buy the Book
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Claire Potter's is the first book to look at the structural, legal, and cultural aspects of J. Edgar Hoover's war on crime in the 1930s, a New Deal campaign which forged new links between citizenship, federal policing, and the ideal of centralized government.
War on Crime reminds us of how and why our worship of violent celebrity hero G-men and gangsters came about and how we now are reaping the results.Buy the Book
Category Archives: American Studies Association
January 28, 2014, 10:31 am
I welcome the broader observations about the current state of American Studies that Christopher Shea has made at the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Boycott Debate is Symptom of Broader Debate in American Studies,” 1/27/2014). However, I do regret the characterization of the ASA as split between, as he implies, progressive proponents of the boycott and “cultural conservatives.”
Why? In my view, this choice reinforces the views of the most vigorous participants in this conversation (including those who have become activist in their views that an academic organization has no business becoming activist) that there are only two “sides.” You can call them radical and conservative; or perhaps you will want to characterize them as those whose faces are turned to an intellectual future and the angry traditionalists. In the dichotomies proposed, there is no middle ground, no place of in…
November 21, 2013, 10:35 am
Given that my reply to one commenter had become post-length (look at the comments section of the prior post) I decided to make a few small edits and elevate it to the main page of the blog. I do so with a message to those opposing the resolution for an academic boycott of Israel at #2013ASA: stop throwing stones, and focus. The principles of free speech and academic freedom are, I believe, positive and compelling reaons to defeat an American Studies Association (ASA) boycott of Israel based on the principles laid out by PACBI. Questioning the motives and ethical stances of fellow academics affiliated with BDS is not. I have been particularly concerned by unwarranted charges of antisemitism and racism, on this blog, in the academic #twittersphere.
I would also like to say…
November 19, 2013, 1:09 pm
I had not planned to attend this year’s American Studies Association Meeting, which is just as well. After I learned this week that a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel would be presented for discussion, I realized I need a time out from American Studies. Part of this is that the organization — which I have always loved, and still love, for its activism — has taken itself in an intellectual direction that I sometimes no longer even understand. This year’s meeting, for example, bears the theme, “Beyond the Logic of Debt: Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent.”
Does anyone but me look at this and say “Why does this one thing before the colon seem not to bear any relationship to the thing after the colon?” Speaking of colitis, some are getting it from next year’s CFP, which seems to deliberately mock the idea of scholarly meetings by arguing that conferences may …
November 16, 2012, 12:30 am
It’s very rare that I get a response to a post on academic conferences like this one. In the comment thread to yesterday’s post, archie_kelvin asks:
A long, long time ago, on the dear departed “Brainstorm” site, there was a long, long thread (in response to a post somewhat like TR’s) about attending an academic conference in a sunny clime, far away from the campuses of most attendees.
archie followed up with a bunch of questions, which I will attempt to answer (and yes, archie, my panel went very well today — thanks for asking.)
Aren’t these things just boondoggles, mini-vacations wholly or partly on somebody else’s tab?
All conferences, in all professions, are at least partly…
November 14, 2012, 11:25 pm
Binders full of academics are being disgorged at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Good news: unlike many places in the Northeast, there is heat and hot water, and it’s about 80 degrees. Your favorite Radical, who spent this pre-convention day eating fish sandwiches at the beach, has an unexpectedly fantastic room at the Caribe Hilton, the conference headquarters. A Mad Man-ny styled place with 1960s retro furniture and a shower as big as some Manhattan apartments, it has a balcony and a view of the entire coastline.
Those of us who are checked in here had a fantasy about being able to slip in and out of panels, and in between go back to the beach. I was not the only person to design my convention-wear so that a bathing suit would fit comfortably underneath. Alas, it is not to be: the actual meeting…
October 21, 2011, 11:45 am
Of course, ASA means something different as you age: it used to mean “Par-tay!!!” Now it mostly means jiggling a lot of appointments around the panel I am on so that I can do everything I need to do for my publishing life in fewer than two days. The restrictions on partying are fine since I no longer drink much and the closer I get to the Big Sleep, the more I need to practice on a nightly basis. My current conferencing style also means I am no longer using intellectual work to facilitate conference going, but just the opposite. Shrewder minds than mine understood this back in graduate school and they have the careers to prove it. In any case, there is only so much you can do over the interwebz and by conference call in the academic publishing biz : some stuff still requires the good old face to face, as Bertie Wooster might have put it. (more…)
January 3, 2009, 12:05 pm
And doesn’t really expect to. I’ll be lucky to make the book exhibit. Much as I would like to see some scholars perform their scholarship in groups, this year I am fated to see them do it one at a time in hotel rooms. Which is interesting, but not exactly the community experience one expects of a scholarly meeting. However, since Zenith seems to be one of the few schools that did not cancel its searches, it makes us minor celebrities. Thanks, (Not So) New President.
Yesterday’s highlights outside of the hotel room where my search committee was meeting included brisk walks up and down the Avenue of the Americas (quickest cutover to the Doubletree, where our interviews are being held, is on 47th street – that way you exchange the clots of tourists on Broadway who stop and take pictures of each other in front of the ESPN studios for the not much lighter, but moving crowds on Sixth…
October 20, 2008, 12:26 pm
I have spent much of my life going east, or going “out east”, as they used to say in southern Idaho, a place where I spent a large part of my youth. Going East is, of course, for those of us born and/or raised in the former English colonies, a consequence of having gone West in the first place. So now I am Back East (another quaint phrase from the Mountain States), in my comfortable remodeled nineteenth century clapboard house, determined to spend the day at home after having spent the weekend working for Zenith.
This is one of the few times I have attended a convention without attending either a panel or a party. For all my careful collation of the many events where the big American Studies programs host gatherings of the interdisciplinary clan, the combination of interviewing, the time change, the thin air, and a tendency of the bodily fluids to evaporate without even becoming sweat …
February 17, 2008, 7:50 pm
Cruising around the blogosphere as one does, and following link to link, I ended up on Academic Cog’s December post about the academic job wiki. My favorite Cog was upbraiding midnight raiders who erased sections of the wiki, claiming that they had done so as a “political act” to protest the oppressions of the job market. I agree with Miss Cog, mutilating the wiki was a mean thing to do, although I think it was probably a function of wiki-madness itself, perhaps enhanced by drink, that gave some jerk the idea that hir own rotten year on the job market could be made better by destabilizing other people’s peace of mind. Having never really thought much about this job market wiki before last year (when I stumbled upon it and, to my horror, found a colleague’s divorce detailed by a disappointed job hunter as the reason why s/he was given a job, purportedly by sympathetic friends, that…
October 13, 2007, 3:12 am
I am writing this on the way home from the American Studies Association annual meeting, and am forgoing the Friday and Saturday night parties (not to mention lesbian club-hopping in Philadelphia) in favor of sleeping in my own bed tonight. It will be late when I get home, but worth the late-night travel amongst sketchy people to be home. I have been gone so long that for the first time ever on a trip I actually finished all the reading material I took with me, and watched all the Netflix videos. I also discovered that, despite the fact that Netflix keeps asking me if I want to watch something in my queue “right now,” in fact, you can’t do that with a Mac©. I know, because I finally tried last night, after about six months of piously sticking to my work, when in fact I would have rather been watching Fat Actress (or Fat Anything, for that matter.) This causes me to have a…