Upcoming Seminar with Justin DuRivage (Yale University) ‘Taxing Empire: Economic Ideology and the Origins of the American Revolution’
**Please note that this event will be held at the unusual time of 12:00**
Justin DuRivage is a PhD Candidate at Yale University. The title of his dissertation is Taxing Empire: Political Economy and the Origins of the American Revolution, 1748-1780. This project offers a new account of the ideological origins of the American Revolution by examining debates over fiscal policy throughout the eighteenth-century British Empire. Justin has previously been awarded an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and has taught on courses entitled ‘Colonial Period in American History’, ‘Early Modern England’ and ‘Early National America’ – all at Yale University.
Justin DuRivage will present his work on Tuesday 28 May 2013. Seminar will be held in the Arthur West Room in the Department of history, 9 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool from 12noon. Maps and directions can be found here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/maps/university-map/.
All are welcome.
This event has been organised with the Department of History, University of Liverpool.
On Monday 15 April 2013, Professor William Chew from Vesalius College, Brussels, delivered the seminar ‘A “New Frontier” in American Studies?: Methodological Perspectives of Imagology’. Professor Chew outlined imagology as an approach to understanding national stereotypes, emphasising firstly the commonplace nature of national stereotypes and secondly the fact that clichéd images tend to say more about the people using them rather than the society putatively described by them.
Professor Chew first summarised the collected essays of imagological works that he had helped edit. The book was entitled National Stereotypes in Perspective: Americans in France, Frenchmen in America, and Professor Chew identified a number of persistent binary opposites that existed between the US and France from the 18th Century through to the 20th. These included dialectics between materialism and idealism, and racism versus colour blindness. Professor Chew then sought to make some initial conclusions about prevailing binary sets of geographical positions in imagological works, including North/South, Centre/Periphery, and Strong-State/Weak-State.
To illustrate all of the themes he had discussed, Professor Chew summarised Dominique Laurent’s chapter ‘The American Civil War in the French Press’. Dr Laurent surveyed three newspapers and concentrated on three key events from the Civil War, the attack on Fort Sumnter, the battle of Gettsyburg, and Lincoln’s assassination. Each event was employed by the French press to advance the particular agenda of each newspaper; therefore, the bombarding of Fort Sumnter acted as both an indirect criticism of Napoleon III for one paper and evidence of the North’s oppressive attitude to the South for another. Ultimately, Dr Laurent’s work demonstrates the mutability of stereotypes, which allow spectators to interpret the same event according to personal and idiosyncratic perceptions, and confirm again their own biases.
The session concluded with short reflections on some of the boundaries of imagological study, especially its utility for investigating race, materialism, democracy, technology, and gender/sexuality.
Many thanks to Bill for his introduction to Imagology and everyone else who attended for contributing to the Q&A session.
University: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Professor of History.
Paper title for RCAS: ‘A ‘New Frontier’ in American Studies? Methodological Perspectives of Imagology’.
Abstract: This paper will provide a brief introduction to the models and methods of imagology and then show how these can be applied to teaching American Studies, drawing upon an inventory of case studies highlighting “image-building” and national stereotypes across the Atlantic. This will draw on the experience of teaching a masters level course entitled ‘American History Through European National Stereotypes, 1770-1970′.
Profile: Professor Chew completed his PhD at the University of Tübingen and has been teaching at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel since 1987. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Belgian Luxembourg American Studies Association (BLASA).
His publications include:
- A Bostonian Merchant Witnesses the Second French Revolution: James Price a Voyage and a Visit to France in 1792 (Brussels Center for American Studies, 1992).
- Images of America: Through the European Looking-Glass (Brussels, VUB University Press, 1997).
- National Stereotypes in Perspective: Americans in France, Frenchmen in America (Amsterdam, Rodopi Press, 2001).
- He is a contributor to Women in World History (Yorkin Publications) and Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery (ABC-Clio), as well as to the CD-ROM Napoleonic Europe (eds. Charles Mckay, Dennis Trinkle, Kyle Eidahl).
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Chew will present his work on Monday 15 April 2013. Seminar will be held in room 1.04 in the School of History, 9 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool from 5pm. Maps and directions can be found here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/maps/university-map/
25 March 2013 saw the visit of Professor Paul Smith from George Mason University in Virginia to the University of Liverpool. He discussed his new theory of ‘flowback’, and what he believes to be the changing nature of globalisation. The speaker prefaced his talk by telling those in attendance that his ideas were ‘speculative’ but that what he was about to say did indeed relate to empirical facts and data. The basic premise for the paper was that ‘we are at the end of globalisation’.
Professor Smith believes that we are beginning to see the ‘end of globalisation as capitalists know it’ – the character of globalisation is shifting. He related this to the recent recession. The case of China and the end of cheap overseas labour to be found there was advanced as indicative of this shift and to this the controversial Marxist analysis of ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’ was applied.
The speaker explained his use of the term ‘flowback’ because globalisation is often discussed in terms of the flow of people and capital. He has observed that the flows that initiated globalisation are now flowing back. The example was given of Mexicans and Latin Americans who are now more reluctant to move to the United States as opportunities improve at home. Whereas globalisation has previously concentrated capital in countries in the Northern Hemisphere, with this capital flowing through ‘unbankable’ places but not staying there long enough to be productive, the conditions of ‘bankability’ are now changing.
Other topics discussed as symptomatic of ‘flowback’ included: The reversal of flows of jobs and people to a point that manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States – subsequently a discourse about capital and ethics overseas is becoming more important, the reduction of defence spending whereas in the past this was something that was untouchable, and finally the decrease in anti-immigration discourse and the granting of more rights to legal and illegal immigrants.
Professor Smith believes that globalisation has often been equated with Americanisation and that this is now changing as the US is increasingly subjected to a state of marginalisation and disempowerment. It was concluded that America is now entering a new role as a result of the recession and the ‘flowback’ as globalisation changes.
Many thanks to Paul and all who attended for a fascinating paper and Q &A session.
University: George Mason University, Virginia. Professor of Cultural Studies.
Paper title for RCAS: ‘Flowback: America, neoliberalism and the end of globalization’.
Abstract: At its beginnings globalisation was often described in terms of its ‘flows’–of
Profile: Paul Smith completed his PhD in American studies at the University of Kent in 1981. His publications include:
- Primitive America: The Ideology of Capitalist Democracy. U. Minneosta P. (2007)
- Millennial Dreams: Contemporary Culture and Capital in the North. Verso (1997)
- Boys: Masculinities in Contemporary Culture. (Ed.). Westview Press (1996)
- The Enigmatic Body: Selected Writings of Jean Louis Schefer. Cambridge UP (1995)
- Madonnarama: On “Sex” and Popular Culture. (Ed. with Lisa Frank) Cleis Press (1993)
- Clint Eastwood: A Cultural Production. U. Minnesota P. (1993)
- Discerning the Subject. U. Minnesota P. (1988)
- Men in Feminism. (Ed. with Alice Jardine) Methuen (1987)
- Pound Revised. Croom Helm (1983)
Contact email: email@example.com
Paul Smith will be presenting his work on 25th March 2013. Seminar will be held in room 1.04 in the School of History, 9 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool from 5pm. Maps and directions can be found here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/maps/university-map/
Name: Gavan Lennon
University: University of Nottingham, Department of American and Canadian Studies
Research title: Living Jim Crow: The Segregated Town in White Southern Fiction My thesis examines the trope of the segregated town in white southern novelists in the middle of the twentieth century. I examine the fiction of Lillian Smith, Byron Herbert Reece, Carson McCullers, and William Faulkner to examine the formal strategies they employ to critique Jim Crow racial Segregation. I show how these white authors articulate resistance to the legal and political norms of their time and place.
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paper title for RCAS: ‘“The Dis-Integrated Southern Town: Carson McCullers and Brown v. Board”
Abstract: Southern towns are presented in novels of the first half of the twentieth century as urban spaces in which the economic, social and cultural needs of an agrarian community were met. Towns, in fiction, were drawn with special attention to the idea that they presented integrated urban spaces which incorporated the amenities of modern life and were themselves incorporated into the state. Southern Studies has, to this point, focussed on the imaginative space of the plantation as a means of discussing the political repercussions of southern slavery. My research repositions the methodology in order to provide a useful means of discussing the fiction of segregation.
In recent years Southern Studies scholarship has turned toward a focus on Jim Crow racial segregation as a crucial context for southern literature and culture. Operating within the methodology of the New Southern Studies, my research repositions interrogation of the literature of segregation within the construction of fictive southern towns. I trace the development and concerns of this methodology from its beginnings in the work of Houston A. Baker Jr. to the present state of the field. I show how an integration of the field’s focus on historical contexts and the use of close textual analysis combine to show how resistance to segregation was articulated by white authors on the left. Using the example of Carson McCullers, I examine how the construction of a segregated town in fiction can be used as a platform for the examination of political normalcy.
McCullers criticism has tended to focus upon the physical and sexual queerness of her characters, especially as a commentary on the limitations of gender normativity. McCullers’ position as a social liberal is not disputed. The author’s engagement with larger political issues, especially the question of racial segregation, has less frequently been discussed. My paper will address McCullers’ seldom read final novel, Clock without Hands (1961) and its very overt engagement with the monumental Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka which ruled segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. I explore McCullers’ project of resistance to segregation through close analysis of the novel’s narrative forms. This aesthetic project works in parallel with the developments in political and intellectual history of the period. By taking a new direction in McCullers scholarship I hope to open new avenues of study within Southern Studies.
Gavan Lennon will be presenting his research alongside Emily Magrath at the first RCAS seminar tomorrow, 28th February 2013, 5pm.
Name: Emily Magrath
University: University of Aberdeen (BA); UCL (MA); University of Aberdeen (PhD)
Year of study: 3rd
Research title: ‘Changing Indian identity in Oklahoma, 1911 – 1924′
My research focuses on Native Americans in Oklahoma at the beginning of the twentieth century against the backdrop of the Progressive Era and in the immediate period prior to the granting of Universal American citizenship in 1924.
The project in particular seeks to utilise underused sources including oral history sources from the period and publications from Oklahoma to explore the creation of Indian, as opposed to tribal identity through the localisation of Oklahoma.
Other: Co-chair of the History Postgraduate Seminar Series at Aberdeen and a member of the American Studies Association
Contact email: email@example.com
Paper title for RCAS: ‘For Sale: Native American image in the Indian School Journal in the early twentieth century’
Abstract: The opening decades of the twentieth century were marked by a period of reforms, modernisation and ideological change. Such change reverberated also through Native American society and resulted in the emergence of new ideas about the future of Native American society and new images representing Native Americans in America. This paper seeks to explore this period of change through the lens of the Indian School Journal published by the Chilocco Indian Agricultural Boarding School in Oklahoma. The emphasis of the paper is on examination of the way in which an official publication by an Indian boarding school chose and crafted its content and how through this, the journal created and sold an Indian image. Moreover, it examines the journal as a point of intersection between the boarding school institution, with its predominantly white staff, the Native American students at the school and the Indian image the two groups jointly created.
Examination of this largely underused source reveals a perhaps surprising inclusion of Native American culture in the journal such as the advertisement of Native American crafts which were sold by the school. In their examination of Indian education K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Teresa L. McCarty have theorised about the creation of safe zones from the beginning of the twentieth century in which elements of Native American culture were permissible in American society (To remain an Indian, 2006). This paper seeks to explore this theory through the journal to test out to what extent this is true and further explore the idea of safe elements with Indian image in the US.
In a period in which the US government was pursuing a policy of assimilation toward Native Americans and utilising boarding schools to facilitate this, this paper will reveal how this played out at Chilocco, through the journal, against changes occurring in the US and suggest that the journal is an example of the conflicted and changeable nature Indian image in the early twentieth century.