They Also Write for Kids: Cross-Writing, Activism, and Children’s Literature
Suzanne Manizza Roszak
(University Press of Mississippi, 2022), $30.00
Outside the world of children’s literature studies, children’s books by authors of well-known texts “for adults” are often forgotten or marginalized. Although many adults today read contemporary children’s and young adult fiction for pleasure, others continue to see such texts as unsuitable for older audiences, and they are unlikely to cross-read children’s books that were themselves cross-written by authors like Chinua Achebe, Anita Desai, Joy Harjo, or Amy Tan. Meanwhile, these literary voices have produced politically vital works of children’s literature whose complex themes persist across boundaries of expected audience. These works form part of a larger body of activist writing “for children” that has long challenged preconceived notions about the seriousness of such books and ideas about who, in fact, should read them.
They Also Write for Kids: Cross-Writing, Activism, and Children’s Literature seeks to draw these cross-writing projects together and bring them to the attention of readers. In doing so, this book invites readers to place children’s literature in conversation with works more typically understood as being for adult audiences, read multiethnic US literature alongside texts by global writers, consider children’s poetry and nonfiction as well as fiction, and read diachronically as well as cross-culturally. These ways of reading offer points of entry into a world of books that refuse to exclude young audiences in scrutinizing topics that range from US settler colonialism and linguistic prejudice to intersectional forms of gender inequality. The authors included here also employ an intricate array of writing strategies that challenge lingering stereotypes of children’s literature as artistically as well as intellectually simplistic. They subversively repurpose tropes and conventions from canonical children’s books; embrace an epistemology of children’s literature that emphasizes ambiguity and complexity; invite readers to participate in redefining concepts such as “civilization” and cultural belonging; engage in intricate acts of cross-cultural representation; and re-envision their own earlier works in new forms tailored explicitly to younger audiences. Too often disregarded by skeptical adults, these texts offer rich rewards to readers of all ages, and here they are brought to the fore.
Gerd Ludwig and Frank Mehring
(Edition Lammerhuber, 2023), €49.90
Joseph Beuys is regarded worldwide as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. But where exactly did he locate his artistic roots? Where are his sources of inspiration? Beuys Land is the first book to place the Lower Rhine natural landscape and Beuys’ (supposed) birthplace Kleve and at the center of Beuys’ cosmos.
In January 1978, the German American photographer Gerd Ludwig captured in an impressive fashion how Beuys approached his biographical past – in the city of Kleve and its Lower Rhine surroundings. There, where everything began for Joseph Beuys. The photographs Gerd Ludwig collected here show Beuys primarily in the typical landscape between dykes, scour holes, avenues, and the local people. Here one senses how Beuys’ concept of art, and his landscape are mutually dependent in their barrenness. In dialogue with Ludwig’s photographs, Frank Mehring shows how Beuys drew his energy from the roots of the Lower Rhine, sharpened his ecological awareness, and developed the artistic vitality that catapulted him to the top of the international art world.
Freedom on the Offensive: Human Rights, Democracy Promotion, and US Interventionism in the Late Cold War
William Michael Schmidli
(Cornell University Press, 2022), $46.95
In Freedom on the Offensive, William Michael Schmidli illuminates how the Reagan administration’s embrace of democracy promotion was a defining development in US foreign relations in the late twentieth century. Reagan used democracy promotion to refashion the bipartisan Cold War consensus that had collapsed in the late 1960s amid opposition to the Vietnam War. Over the course of the 1980s, the initiative led to a greater institutionalization of human rights—narrowly defined to include political rights and civil liberties and to exclude social and economic rights—as a US foreign policy priority. Democracy promotion thus served to legitimize a distinctive form of US interventionism and to underpin the Reagan administration’s aggressive Cold War foreign policies. Drawing on newly available archival materials, and featuring a range of perspectives from top-level policymakers and politicians to grassroots activists and militants, this study makes a defining contribution to our understanding of human rights ideas and the projection of American power during the final decade of the Cold War.
Escape to the City: Fugitive Slaves in the Antebellum Urban South
Viola Franziska Müller
(University of North Carolina Press, 2022), $32.95
Viola Franziska Müller examines runaways who camouflaged themselves among the free Black populations in Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, and Richmond. In the urban South, they found shelter, work, and other survival networks that enabled them to live in slaveholding territory, shielded and supported by their host communities in an act of collective resistance to slavery. While all fugitives risked their lives to escape slavery, those who fled to southern cities were perhaps the most vulnerable of all. Not dissimilar to modern-day refugees and illegal migrants, runaway slaves that sought refuge in the urban South were antebellum America’s undocumented people, forging lives free from bondage but without the legal status of freedpeople. Spanning from the 1810s to the start of the Civil War, Müller reveals how urbanization, work opportunities, and the interconnectedness of free and enslaved Black people in each city determined how successfully runaways could remain invisible to authorities.
The Multicultural Modernism of Winold Reiss (1886-1953)
Edited by Frank Mehring
(Deutscher Kunstverlag (DKV), 2022), €48.00
In a first, this anthology presents essays by art historians and cultural scientists from both sides of the Atlantic to rediscover, analyze and contextualize the rich and largely unknown art of Winold Reiss, opening up a new, previously untapped archive of multicultural Modernism. The German-American artist, who was born in Karlsruhe in 1886 and arrived in New York in 1913, defies instant categorization. With his dual background in fine arts and applied arts he set out to bridge the gulf between “high” and “low” art introducing a bold use of color to the American art scene and to interior design. In his portraits Reiss captured the multi-ethnic diversity of the US. His specific blend of cultural otherness, primitivism, and depictions of ethnicity challenged the conventions of the time.
Bulldozed and Betrayed. Louisiana and the Stolen Elections of 1876
(Louisiana State University Press, 2021), $45.00
Prior to the 2020 presidential election, historians considered the disputed 1876 contest—which pitted Republican Rutherford B. Hayes against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden—the most controversial in American history. Examining the work and conclusions of the Potter Committee, the congressional body tasked with investigating the vote, Adam Fairclough’s Bulldozed and Betrayed: Louisiana and the Stolen Elections of 1876 sheds new light on the events surrounding the electoral crisis, especially those that occurred in Louisiana, a state singled out for voter intimidation and rampant fraud.
The Potter Committee’s inquiry led to embarrassment for Democrats, uncovering an array of bribes, forgeries, and even coded telegrams showing that the Tilden campaign had attempted to buy the presidency. Testimony also exposed the treachery of Hayes, who, once installed in the White House, permitted insurrectionary Democrats to overthrow the Republican government in Louisiana that had risen to power during the early days of Reconstruction.
FDR in American Memory. Roosevelt and the Making of an Icon
(John Hopkins University Press, 2021), $54.95
In polls of historians and political scientists, Franklin Delano Roosevelt consistently ranks among the top three American presidents. Roosevelt enjoyed an enormous political and cultural reach, one that stretched past his presidency and across the world. A grand narrative of Roosevelt’s crucial role in the twentieth century persists: the notion that American ideology, embodied by FDR, overcame the Depression and won World War II, while fascism, communism, and imperialism—and their ignoble figureheads—fought one another to death in Europe. This grand narrative is flawed and problematic, legitimizing the United States’s cultural, diplomatic, and military role in the world order, but it has meant that FDR continues to loom large in American culture.
In FDR in American Memory, Sara Polak analyzes Roosevelt’s construction as a cultural icon in American memory from two perspectives. First, she examines him as a historical leader, one who carefully and intentionally built his public image. Focusing on FDR’s use of media and his negotiation of the world as a disabled person, she shows how he consistently aligned himself with modernity and future-proof narratives and modes of rhetoric. Second, Polak looks at portrayals and negotiations of the FDR icon in cultural memory from the vantage point of the early twenty-first century. Drawing on recent and well-known cultural artifacts—including novels, movies, documentaries, popular biographies, museums, and memorials—she demonstrates how FDR positioned himself as a rhetorically modern and powerful but ideologically almost empty container. That deliberate positioning, Polak writes, continues to allow almost any narrative to adopt him as a relevant historical example even now.
As a study of presidential image-fashioning, FDR in American Memory will be of immediate relevance to present-day readers.
Freedom Seekers. Fugitive Slaves in North America, 1800-1860
Damian Alan Pargas
(Cambridge University Press, 2022), £18.99
In this fascinating book, Damian Alan Pargas introduces a new conceptualization of ‘spaces of freedom’ for fugitive slaves in North America between 1800 and 1860, and answers the questions: How and why did enslaved people flee to – and navigate – different destinations throughout the continent, and to what extent did they succeed in evading recapture and re-enslavement? Taking a continental approach, this study highlights the diversity of slave fight by conceptually dividing the continent into three distinct – and continuously evolving – spaces of freedom. Namely, spaces of informal freedom in the US South, where enslaved people attempted to flee by passing as free blacks; spaces of semi-formal freedom in the US North, where slavery was abolished but the precise status of fugitive slaves was contested; and spaces of formal freedom in Canada and Mexico, where slavery was abolished and runaways were considered legally free and safe from re-enslavement.
The Transatlantic Era (1989-2020) in Documents and Speeches
Edited by Bram Boxhoorn and Giles Scott-Smith
(Routledge, 2022), £29.59
This accessible textbook uses key documents embedded in a clear narrative to chart the post-Cold War rise and decline of transatlantic relations. It provides a novel interpretive framework by proposing that the three decades between 1989 and 2020 represent a distinct ‘transatlantic era’.
Providing a unique new look at the recent history and politics of transatlantic relations, the book argues that three key phases can be identified:
Each period defines a particular set of political, economic, and security dynamics, with the trend being a gradual undermining of the strengths on which transatlantic unity once relied. These three decades therefore represent both the high point of the transatlantic region’s power and potential, and its gradual decline in a global context. Presenting students with a critical perspective of US and European transatlantic policies through annotated key documents covering central aspects of security, political, economic, and cultural affairs, it will be essential reading on all International Relations courses as well as of great interest to scholars and students of US and European Studies, Foreign Policy, and Security Studies.
Saving the Overlooked Continent: American Protestant Missions in Western Europe, 1940-1975
(Leuven University Press, 2020), €49.50
How American Protestant missionaries created a new worldwide religious network.
Among a wide spectrum of American Protestants, the horrors of World War II triggered grave concern for Europe’s religious future. They promptly mobilised resources to revive Europe’s Christian foundation. Saving the Overlooked Continent reconstructs this surprising redirection of Western missions. For the first time, Europe became the recipient of America’s missionary enterprise.
The American missionary impulse matched the military, economic, and political programs of the U.S., all of which positioned the United States to become Europe’s dominant partner and point of cultural reference. One result was the importation of the internal conflicts that vexed American Protestants – theological tensions between modernists and traditionalists, and organisational competition between established churches and independent parachurch associations. Europe was offered a new slate of options that sparked civic and ecclesiastical responses.
But behind these contending religious networks lay a considerable overlap of goals and means based on a shared missionary trajectory. By the mid-1960s, most Protestant American agencies admitted that the expectation of a religious revival had been too optimistic despite their initiatives having led to an integration of Europe in the global evangelical network. The agencies reconsidered their assumptions and redefined their strategies. The initial opposition between inclusive and exclusive approaches abated, and the path opened to a sustained cooperation among once-fierce opponents.
The Phenomenon of Anne Frank
David Barnouw, translated by Jeannette K. Ringold
(Indiana University Press, 2018), $12.00
While Anne Frank was in hiding during the German Occupation of the Netherlands, she wrote what has become the world’s most famous diary. But how could an unknown Jewish girl from Amsterdam be transformed into an international icon? Renowned Dutch scholar David Barnouw investigates the facts and controversies that surround the global phenomenon of Anne Frank. Barnouw highlights the ways in which Frank’s life and ultimate fate have been represented, interpreted, and exploited. He follows the evolution of her diary into a book (with translations into nearly 60 languages and editions that added previously unknown material), an American play, and a movie. As he asks, “Who owns Anne Frank?” Barnouw follows her emergence as a global phenomenon and what this means for her historical persona as well as for her legacy as a symbol of the Holocaust.
Return to Sender: American Evangelical Missions to Europe in the 20th Century (vol. 63: Theologie: Forschung und Wissenschaft)
John Corrigan, Frank Hinkelmann (eds.)
(Zürich: LIT Verlag 2019), € 29.90.
Based on a conference held at the RIAS in 2015, this collection of studies by American and European scholars explores the various ways in which American evangelicals found their way to postwar Europe, what they did there, and how they were received. With attention to the American and European organizations that brokered their mission, the social and political settings that framed their activities, and the mixed results of their efforts, these studies provide a much-needed overview how an important twentieth-century style of Christianity “returned” to Europe.
The chapters include famous American evangelists such as Billy Graham and Francis Schaeffer, initiatives of missionary organizations such as Operation Mobilisation, the Belgian Gospel Mission, Youth for Christ, the Jesus Movement and results in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland.
The Argument about Things in the 1980s: Goods and Garbage in an Age of Neoliberalism
(West Virginia University Press, 2018), $29,99
In the late 1970s, a Jeff Koons art exhibit featured mounted vacuum cleaners lit by fluorescent tube lighting and identified by their product names: New Hoover Quik Broom, New Hoover Celebrity IV. Raymond Carver published short stories such as “Are These Actual Miles?” that catalogued the furniture, portable air conditioners, and children’s bicycles in a family home. Some years later the garbage barge Mobro 4000 turned into an international scandal as it spent months at sea, unable to dump its trash as it was refused by port after port.
Tim Jelfs’s The Argument about Things in the 1980s considers all this and more in a broad study of the literature and culture of the “long 1980s.” It contributes to of-the-moment scholarly debate about material culture, high finance, and ecological degradation, shedding new light on the complex relationship between neoliberalism and cultural life.
The Black Diaspora and Germany – Deutschland und die Schwarze Diaspora
(Edition Assemblage, 2018), €18
Frank Mehring (Radboud University Nijmegen) is part of the interdisciplinary research network BLACK DIASPORA AND GERMANY that is interested in historical and contemporary experiences of the Black Diaspora in Germany and in the various connections of the international Black Diaspora with Germany. In September 2018, the comprehensive anthology The Black Diaspora and Germany – Deutschland und die Schwarze Diaspora was published. The bilingual volume (English and German) charts some of the research results which the network’s members, associates and external contacts have produced over the last few years. Topics range from the 18th century to the present and from social history to literature, art and popular culture. The book includes chapters on political initiatives, theoretical issues, historical overviews and individual case studies. It offers reflections on the relationships between Black German Studies and Critical Whiteness Studies to hegemonic traditions of knowledge production, between racism and nationhood, and between colonial history and later developments. Further topics include the intersectionality of ‘race,’ class and gender; and the position of Black people in cultural production, between commodification, performativity and subversion. Chapters include academic analyzes from History and Cultural Studies, as well as contributions by and about activists, artists and historical witnesses, in the form of both essays and interviews.
Nightmare Envy and Other Stories: American Culture and European Reconstruction
(Oxford University Press, 2018), £25.49
Nightmare Envy and Other Stories is a study of Americanist writing and institutions in the 20th century. Four chapters trace four routes through an Americanist century. The first is the hidden history of American Studies in the United States, Europe and Japan. The second is the strange career of “national character” in anthropology. The third is a contest between military occupation and cultural diplomacy in at the Salzburg Seminar in American Civilization, where displaced persons, former Nazis, budding Communists, and glad-handing Americans met on the common ground of American culture. The fourth is the emergence and fate of the “American Renaissance,” as the scholar and literary critic F.O. Matthiessen carried a canon of radical literature across the Iron Curtain. The book chronicles American encounters with European disaster, European encounters with American fiction, and the chasms over which culture had to reach. Some saw the United States assume the mantle of cultural redeemer. Others saw a stereotypical America, rich in civilization but poor in culture, overtake a stereotypical Europe, rich in culture and equally rich in disaster. Others found keys to their own contexts in American books, reading Moby-Dick in the ruins. The phrase “Nightmare envy” captures that atmosphere of transatlantic disparity, projection, recrimination, and longing. Envy, whether malicious or benign, emerges from disparity; the disparity might be spiritual, cultural, material, or military, and the envy can cut both ways. It is not always clear who is envying whom, or for what. Nightmare envy links writers in many settings: Margaret Mead in England and New Guinea, F. O. Matthiessen in Prague, Simone de Beauvoir in New York and New Orleans, Ralph Ellison in Salzburg and Rome, James Baldwin in Switzerland, William Faulkner in Europe and Japan. It also illuminates “American exceptionalism” (that most misused Americanist term of art) and the founding preoccupations of American Studies itself.
Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America
Damian Alan Pargas (ed.)
(University Press of Florida, 2018), $90
This volume introduces a new way to study the experiences of runaway slaves by defining different “spaces of freedom” they inhabited. It also provides a groundbreaking continental view of fugitive slave migration, moving beyond the usual regional or national approaches to explore locations in Canada, the US North and South, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Using newspapers, advertisements, and new demographic data, contributors show how events like the Revolutionary War and westward expansion shaped the slave experience.
Contributors investigate sites of formal freedom, where slavery was abolished and refugees were legally free, to determine the extent to which fugitive slaves experienced freedom in places like Canada while still being subject to racism. In sites of semiformal freedom, as in the northern United States, fugitives’ claims to freedom were precarious because state abolition laws conflicted with federal fugitive slave laws. Contributors show how local committees strategized to interfere with the work of slave catchers to protect refugees. Sites of informal freedom were created within the slaveholding South, where runaways who felt relocating to distant destinations was too risky formed maroon communities or attempted to blend in with free black populations. These individuals procured false documents or changed their names to avoid detection and pass as free.
The essays discuss slaves’ motivations for choosing these destinations, the social networks that supported their plans, what it was like to settle in their new societies, and how slave flight impacted broader debates about slavery. This volume redraws the map of escape and emancipation during this period, emphasizing the importance of place in defining the meaning and extent of freedom.
Becoming a Good Neighbor among Dictators: The US Foreign Service in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras
Jorrit van den Berk
(Palgrave MacMillan, 2018), E-Book: $84,99 / Hardcover: $109
Very few works of history, if any, delve into the daily interactions of US Foreign Service members in Latin America during the era of Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy. But, as Jorrit van den Berk argues, the encounters between these rank-and-file diplomats and local officials reveal the complexities, procedures, intrigues, and shifting alliances that characterized the precarious balance of US foreign relations with right-wing dictatorial regimes. Using accounts from twenty-two ministers and ambassadors, Becoming a Good Neighbor among Dictators is a careful, sophisticated account of how the US Foreign Service implemented ever-changing State Department directives from the 1930s through the Second World War and early Cold War, and in so doing, transformed the US-Central American relationship. How did Foreign Service officers translate broad policy guidelines into local realities? Could the US fight dictatorships in Europe while simultaneously collaborating with dictators in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras? What role did diplomats play in the standoff between democratic and authoritarian forces? In investigating these questions, Van den Berk draws new conclusions about the political culture of the Foreign Service, its position between Washington policymakers and local actors, and the consequences of foreign intervention.
Politics and Cultures of Liberation: Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy
Hans Bak, Frank Mehring, Mathilde Roza (eds.)
(Brill, 2018), E-book: Open Access / Hardback: €116
This edited collection focuses on mapping, analyzing, and evaluating memories, rituals, and artistic responses to the theme of “liberation.” How is the national framed within a dynamic system of intercultural contact zones highlighting often competing agendas of remembrance? How does the production, (re)mediation, and framing of narratives within different social, territorial, and political environments determine the cultural memory of liberation? The articles compiled in this volume seek to provide new interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives on the politics and cultures of liberation by examining commemorative practices, artistic responses, and audio-visual media that lend themselves for transnational exploration. They offer a wide range of diverse intercultural perspectives on media, memory, liberation, (self)Americanization, and conceptualizations of democracy from the war years, through the Cold War era to the 21st century.
The Revolution That Failed: Reconstruction in Natchitoches
(University of Florida Press, 2018), $29,95
The chaotic years after the Civil War are often seen as a time of uniquely American idealism—a revolutionary attempt to rebuild the nation that paved the way for the civil rights movement of the twentieth century. But Adam Fairclough rejects this prevailing view, challenging prominent historians such as Eric Foner and James McPherson. He argues that Reconstruction was, quite simply, a disaster and that the civil rights movement triumphed despite it, not because of it.
Fairclough takes readers to Natchitoches, Louisiana, a majority-black parish deep in the cotton South. Home to a vibrant Republican Party led by former slaves, ex-Confederates, and free people of color, the parish was a bastion of Republican power and the ideal place for Reconstruction to have worked. Yet although it didn’t experience the extremes of violence that afflicted the surrounding region, Natchitoches fell prey to Democratic intimidation. Its Republican leaders were eventually driven out of the parish.
For more information please see: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-output/humanities/the-revolution-that-failed
Critical Readings on Global Slavery (4 vols.)
Damian Alan Pargas and Felicia Roşu (eds.)
(Brill, 2018), €860
The study of slavery has grown strongly in recent years, as scholars working in several disciplines have cultivated broader perspectives on enslavement in a wide variety of contexts and settings. Critical Readings on Global Slavery offers students and researchers a rich collection of previously published works by some of the most preeminent scholars in the field. With contributions covering various regions and time periods, this anthology encourages readers to view slave systems across time and space as both ubiquitous and interconnected, and introduces those who are interested in the study of human bondage to some of the most important and widely cited works in slavery studies.
Campaigning Culture and the Global Cold War: The Journals of the Congress for Cultural Freedom
Giles Scott-Smith and Charlotte Lerg (eds.)
(Palgrave, 2017), $99.99
Campaigning Culture and the Global Cold War: The Journals of the Congress for Cultural Freedom edited by Giles Scott-Smith and Charlotte Lerg (Luwig Maximilian University, Munich), explores the lasting legacy of the controversial project funded by the CIA to promote Western culture and liberal values in the battle of ideas with global Communism during the Cold War. At the center of this campaign was the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which published an influential series of journals around the world. These journals, which included Encounter, involved many of the most famous intellectuals to promote a global intellectual community. Some of them, such as Minerva, Quadrant, and China Quarterly, are still going to this day. This study examines when and why these journals were founded, who ran them, and how we should understand their cultural message in relation to the secret patron that paid the bills.
Global Perspectives on the Bretton Woods Conference and the Post-War World Order
Giles Scott-Smith and J. Simon Rofe (eds.)
(Springer, 2017), $109
Global Perspectives on the Bretton Woods Conference and the Post-War World Order, edited by Giles Scott-Smith and J. Simon Rofe (SOAS, London), stems from an expert workshop held at the RIAS in September 2014. This book repositions the groundbreaking Bretton Woods conference of July 1944 as the first large-scale multilateral North-South dialogue on global financial governance. It moves beyond the usual focus on AngloAmerican interests by highlighting the influence of delegations from Latin America, India, the Soviet Union, France, and others. It also investigates how state and private interests intermingled, collided, and compromized during the negotiations on the way to a set of regulations and institutions that still partly frame global economic governance in the early twenty-first century. Together, these essays lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive analysis of Bretton Woods as a pivotal site of multilateralism in international history.
Global Exchanges: Scholarships and Transnational Circulations in the Modern World
Ludovic Tournes and Giles Scott-Smith (eds.)
(Berghahn, 2017), £92
Global Exchanges: Scholarships and Transnational Circulations in the Modern World, edited by Ludovic Tournes (University of Geneva) and Giles Scott-Smith, provides a wide-ranging overview of this under-researched topic, examining the scope, scale and evolution of organized exchanges around the globe through the twentieth century. In doing so it dramatically reveals the true extent of organized exchange and its essential contribution for knowledge transfer, cultural interchange, and the formation of global networks so often taken for granted today.
American Responses to the Holocaust; Transatlantic Perspectives
Hans Krabbendam and Derek Rubin (eds.)
(Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017), €49,50
We are pleased to announce that the book “American Responses to the Holocaust; Transatlantic Perspectives,” edited by Hans Krabbendam (Catholic Documentation Centre) and Derek Rubin (Utrecht University) has been published.
This publication grew out of an international conference organized by the Netherlands American Studies Associations, the Belgium and Luxembourg American Studies Association, the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, and the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation and Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
The book puts the topic of Jewish Studies and Holocaust Studies in a new American Studies perspective. This perspective compares similarities and differences in responses and their transatlantic interaction. As the Holocaust grew into an important factor in American culture, it also became a subject of American Studies , both as a window on American Trends and as a topic to which outsiders responded. When Americans responded to information on the early signs of the Holocaust, they were dependent on European official and informal sources. Some were confirmed, others were contradicted; some were ignored, others provoked a response. The book follows this transatlantic exchange, including the alleged abandonment of the Jews in Europe and the post-war attention to the Holocaust victims.
De Atlantische Pelgrim: John Lothrop Motley en de Amerikaanse Ontdekking van Nederland
(Amsterdam: Boom Uitgevers, 2017), € 24,90
In 1856 publiceerde de Amerikaanse historicus John Lothrop Motley (1814-1877) The Rise of the Dutch Republic. Het werd een internationale bestseller. Waarom schreef uitgerekend een Amerikaan dit standaardwerk over de Nederlandse Gouden Eeuw? Deze en andere vragen beantwoordt Jaap Verheul in deze biografie. Motley blijkt een man met vele gezichten te zijn: historicus, romanschrijver, diplomaat en bovenal vertrouweling van vooraanstaande figuren als Bismarck en koningin Sophie.
American Mosaic: Festschrift in Honor of Cornelis A. Van Minnen
William E. Leuchtenburg (ed.)
(VU University Press, 2017), € 29,95
For almost 33 years, Cornelis (Kees) van Minnen served with distinction as the director of the Roosevelt Study Center (RSC) in Middelburg, the Netherlands. During his tenure from 1984 through 2016, the RSC developed from an idea into a highly appreciated and renowned center for the study of American history and U.S.-European relations. In this Festschrift, a stellar cast of of European and American scholars band together with a mosaic of essays as varied as their current interests in U.S. history and culture.
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Anti-Nuclear Movement: The Voice of Conscience
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), £67
This book explores Eleanor Roosevelt’s involvement in the global campaign for nuclear disarmament. Based on an extensive multi-archival research, it assesses her overall contribution to the global anti-nuclear campaign of the early Cold War and shows how she constantly tried to raise awareness of the real hazards of nuclear testing. She strove to educate the general public about the implications of the nuclear arms race and, in doing so, she became for many a trustworthy anti-nuclear leader and a reliable voice of conscience.
Changing US Foreign Policy toward India: US-India Relations since the Cold War
Carina van de Wetering
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), £60.
Changing US Foreign Policy Toward India uncovers how US-India relations have changed and intensified during the administrations of Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., and Barack Obama. Throughout the Cold War, US-India relations were often distant and volatile as India mostly received attention at times of grave international crises, but from the late 1990s onwards, the US showed a more sustained interest in India. How was this shift possible? While previous scholarship has focused on the civilian nuclear deal as a turning point, this book presents an alternative account for this change by analyzing how India’s identity has been constructed in different terms after the Cold War. It examines the underlying discourse and explains how this enables or constrains US foreign policymakers when they establish security policies with India and improve US-India relations.
Reasserting America in the 1970s: U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Rebuilding of America’s Image Abroad
Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith and David J. Snyder
(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), £65
Reasserting America in the 1970s brings together two areas of burgeoning scholarly interest. On the one hand, scholars are investigating the many ways in which the 1970s constituted a profound era of transition in the international order. The American defeat in Vietnam, the breakdown of the Bretton Woods exchange system and a string of domestic setbacks including Watergate, Three-Mile Island and reversals during the Carter years all contributed to a grand reappraisal of the power and prestige of the United States in the world. In addition, the rise of new global competitors such as Germany and Japan, the pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union and the emergence of new private sources of global power contributed to uncertainty.
De Amerikaanse ambassade in Den Haag: een blik achter de schermen van de Amerikaans-Nederlandse betrekkingen
Duco Hellema & Giles Scott-Smith
(Amsterdam: Boom Uitgevers, 2016) €24,50.
Wat gebeurt er achter dat beton? Geen wandelaar kan het over het hoofd zien: De Amerikaanse ambassade, behuisd in het opvallende modernistische gebouw aan het Haagse Lange Voorhout. Wat speelde zich af achter die strenge façade? Wat deed de ambassade tijdens de Koude Oorlog en hoe ging men om met de vele demonstraties tegen de Verenigde Staten vanaf de jaren zestig? De Amerikaans-Nederlandse betrekkingen. In 2017 verhuist de ambassade naar Wassenaar; aanleiding voor een terugblik op roerige tijden waarin het gebouw zijn functie vervulde. Van de soap die voorafging aan de locatiekeuze tot de indruk van de medewerkers, in de jaren zestig en zeventig, dat ‘anybody under 35, roughly speaking, hated the United States with passion’. Nieuwe spannende bronnen: in vijftien hoofdstukken schetsen verschillende experts de rijke historie van het Haagse zenuwcentrum van de Amerikaans-Nederlandse betrekkingen. Ze gaan in op de vraag of de Amerikaanse ambassade meer was dan een normale diplomatieke instantie? Ze maakten daarbij gebruik van archiefmateriaal en interviews, maar ook van een cruciale recente bron: Wikileaks. Auteurs. Dit boek verscheen onder redactie van Duco Hellema en Giles Scott-Smith en bevat bijdragen van: Bert van der Zwan, Joop de Jong, Floribert Baudet, Ine Megens, Wijnand Galema, Constant Hijzen, Cees Wiebes, Rimko van der Maar, Fréderique Holtrop, Duco Hellema, Kim van der Wijngaart, Giles Scott-Smith, Ruud van Dijk en Tim Wencker.
Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots
(The University of North Carolina Press, 2016)
One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. His self-effacing demeanor and his success, especially in steering the events that led to the volatile 1964 Freedom Summer and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, paradoxically gave him a reputation of nearly heroic proportions. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, historian Laura Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses’s strategy, its achievements, and its struggles.
This new biography recasts Moses as an effective, hands-on organizer, safeguarding his ideals while leading from behind the scenes. By returning Moses to his rightful place among the foremost leaders of the movement, Visser-Maessen testifies to Moses’s revolutionary approach to grassroots leadership and the power of the individual in generating social change.
The Mexico Diary: Winold Reiss between Vogue Mexico and Harlem Renaissance. An Illustrated Trilingual Edition
(WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2016)
The German-American artist Winold Reiss(1886-1953)-painter, designer, teacher-has been characterized as a modern Cellini, defying instant categorization and labels. To this day, he remains something of an enigma to art critics. Winold Reiss stands at the beginning of a new American Modernism approach to depicting the vitality of African American culture. In 1920, while struggling through a creative and personal crisis, he went on a two-month-long trip through Mexico. His diary offers a unique glimpse into the artist’s mind and heart. Reading it in conjunction with his drawings helps us better understand the function of Mexican art, folklore, religiosity and the history of mestizaje in the context of the stylizations of the cultural space which James Weldon Johnson called Black Manhattan.
Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South
Damian Alan Pargas
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
American Slavery in the antebellum period was characterized by a massive wave of forced migration as millions of slaves were moved across state lines to the expanding Southwest, scattered locally, and sold or hired out in towns and cities across the South. This book sheds new light on domestic forced migration by examining the experiences of American-born slave migrants from a comparative perspective. Juxtaposing and contrasting the experiences of long-distance, local, and urban slave migrants, it analyzes how different migrant groups anticipated, reacted to, and experienced forced removal, as well as how they adapted to their new homes.
Prison Area, Independence Valley: American Paradoxes in Political Life and Popular Culture
(University Press of New England, 2015)
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.
Atlantic, Euratlantic, or Europe-America?
Collectif, Valérie Aubourg (ed), Giles Scott-Smith (ed)
(éditions Soleb 2013)
What did the Atlantic Community mean for the nations of North America and Western Europe during the 1960s and early 1970s? This book, spanning the period from presidents Kennedy to Nixon, offers a wide-ranging set of views on this topic. National perspectives from the main protagonists—the United States, Britain, France, and West Germany— are complemented by studies on the role of non-state institutions and public diplomacy in maintaining close transatlantic relations. The book moves from the high optimism of the Kennedy years, with the attempt to reframe transatlantic relations around two more equal poles in the United States and a uniting Europe, to the series of disagreements and disputes that energised transatlantic diplomacy during the Nixon years. In doing so, the book provides a unique overview of the main trends and troubles of the transatlantic relationship during a critical period, and shows how various channels—both diplomatic and non-diplomatic—were used to overcome them and maintain a strong alliance.
Tales of Transit: Narrative Migrant Spaces in Atlantic Perspective, 1850-1950
Michael Boyden, Hans Krabbendam, and Liselotte Vandenbussche, eds.
(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013), € 39,50.
Traditionally, migration has been studied at either the beginning or the end of the journey. Surprisingly little research has been devoted to what actually happens to people in between. The contributors to this collection draw on a variety of primary and secondary sources, including travel writings, fiction, and diaries, to explore immigrants’ liminal experiences on ships and in exit ports on both sides of the Atlantic. Combining scholarship from the field of transportation history with that of social history and translation studies,
Tales of Transit reveals the complexity of what people experience as they get uprooted or reattach themselves to a community. A novel addition to the literature of transatlantic movements of the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Tales of Transit demonstrates in vivid detail how migration was seldom a straightforward progression.
Diverse Destinies: Dutch Kolonies in Wisconsin and the East
Nella Kennedy, Mary Risseeuw, and Robert P. Swierenga, eds.
(Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2012), $ 22,50
De staat Wisconsin, in het midden van de V.S. bij de grote meren en vlak bij Canada, staat niet bekend als een verzamelpunt van Nederlandse immigranten. Ten onrechte, blijkt uit de recente bundel met artikelen onder de titel Diverse Destinies. West Michigan is het centrum van deze emigratiegroep geworden. Maar het immigratieproces had ook anders kunnen lopen. Juist door andere uitkomsten te overwegen kunnen we achter de doorslaggevende factoren komen voor de concentratie van Nederlanders in deze streek. De situatie in Wisconsin toont aan dat er meer en andere vormen van Nederlandse interactie met een Amerikaanse omgeving waren dan die in Michigan en Iowa.
De zestien artikelen in deze bundel getuigen daarvan. Ze bekijken het contact met de oorspronkelijke bewoners, de verschillende indianenstammen, met de nieuwkomers, het verschil en de overeenkomsten van katholieke en protestantse immigranten, de verspreiding in steden en dorpen, de belangenbehartiging door de Nederlandse consuls, de poging om een markt voor Nederlandse boeken te scheppen, de taalveranderprocessen, vooral van de Friezen in deze deelstaat en de herdenkingscultuur. Bij elkaar genomen leveren deze bouwstenen een beeld op van een immigrantennetwerk dat soms het spiegelbeeld van de kolonie in Michigan was, met katholieke instellingen die de protestantse overvleugelden, verschuiving van economische zwaartepunten, en de late bewustwording van etnische wortels.
Divided Dreamworlds? The Cultural Cold War in East and West
Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith, and Joes Segal
(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012)
Covering developments across the arts and sciences, the eleven chapters in this volume explore perspectives on East-West cultural exchange and visions of modernity, ranging from interior design to popular music, and film-making to air travel.
Obama, U.S. Politics and Transatlantic Relations: Change or Continuity?
(Brussels: Peter Lang, 2012)
The election of president Barack Obama in November 2008 promised change and renewal for the U.S. and its relations with the world. Four years later, the nineteen essays in this book from U.S. and European authors assess the current state of transatlantic relations.
American Multiculturalism after 9/11: Transatlantic Perspectives
Derek Rubin, Jaap Verheul
(Amsterdam University Press, 2012)
This groundbreaking volume explores the multicultural debate that has evolved in the United States and Europe since the cataclysmic events of 9/11. Instead of suggesting closure by presenting a unified narrative about cultural diversity, national identity, and social stratification, the essays in this well-balanced collection present a variety of perspectives, each highlighting the undiminished relevance of key issues such as immigration, assimilation, and citizenship, while also pointing to unresolved conflicts over universalism, religion, and tolerance. Most importantly, this volume shows that the struggle over multiculturalism is not limited to the political domain, but also has profound cultural implications. American Multiculturalism after 9/11: Transatlantic Perspectives is an invaluable, thought-provoking addition to the debate about multiculturalism as central to the study of the United States in a global context.
The Quarters and the Fields: Slave Families in the Non-Cotton South (New Perspectives on the History of the South)
(University Press of Florida, 2011)
Following Strangers: The Life and Literary Works by Robert M. Coates.
(University of South Carolina Press, 2011)
Roza grounds her study in Coates’s time at Yale University and his participation in the evolution of literary modernism that occurred between the end of the nineteenth century and World War I. Particular attention is given to Coates’s expatriate years in Paris, where he was influenced by the Parisian Dada movement while socializing with writers such as Stein and Hemingway.
Among the Nightmare Fighters: American Poets of World War II
(University of South Carolina Press, 2011)
In the first comprehensive study of the American male poets of World War II, Diederik Oostdijk gives voice to the literary men still considered to be a part of the Silent Generation. Focusing not only on soldier poets, but also on conscientious objectors and those deemed unfit for military service, Among the Nightmare Fighters sheds light on the struggles faced by writers–including Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, Robert Lowell, Howard Nemerov, William Stafford and others–from the onset of the U.S. involvement in the war in Europe to the painful physical and psychological aftereffects soldiers carried with them following their service years.
Enriched with extensive historical and personal background information drawn from the poets’ archives, Oostdijk’s study demonstrates the importance of appreciating these men not only as a collective literary group, but also as solitary writers experiencing the hardships and adversities of war on an individual level. He emphasizes each author’s distinctive perceptions of the disasters they witnessed and the conflicts they witnessed–such as Karl Shapiro’s struggle with his Jewish identification, James Dickey’s fascination with the meaning and projection of manhood, Nemerov’s perception of war’s effect on American society, and Ciardi’s preoccupation with traumatizing combat memories. A factor that connected these men in their responses to war was their overreaching efforts to identify as individuals and not merely as blurred faces among the myriad combatants, a goal that Oostdijk acknowledges in recognizing the unique experiences of his subjects as key to interpreting their poetry.
Networks of Empire: The U.S. State Department’s Foreign Leader Program in the Netherlands, France, and Britain 1950-70
(P.I.E-Peter Lang S.A., Éditions Scientifiques Internationales, 2008)
Exchange programmes have been a part of US foreign relations since the nineteenth century, but it was only during and after World War II that they were applied by the US government on a large scale to influence foreign publics in support of strategic objectives. This book looks at the background, organisation, and goals of the Department of State’s most prestigious activity in this field, the Foreign Leader Program. The Program (still running as the International Visitor Leadership Program) enabled US Embassies to select and invite talented, influential ‘opinion leaders’ to visit the United States, meet their professional counterparts, and gain a broad understanding of American attitudes and opinions from around the country. By tracking the operation of the Program in three key transatlantic allies of the United States a full picture is given of who was selected and why, and how the target groups changed over time in line with a developing US-European relationship. The book therefore takes a unique in-depth look at the importance of exchanges for the extension of US ‘informal empire’ and the maintenance of the transatlantic alliance during the Cold War.
A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South
(Belknap Press; First edition, 2007)
In this major undertaking, civil rights historian Adam Fairclough chronicles the odyssey of black teachers in the South from emancipation in 1865 to integration one hundred years later. No book until now has provided us with the full story of what African American teachers tried, achieved, and failed to do in educating the Southern black population over this critical century.
This magisterial narrative offers a bold new vision of black teachers, built from the stories of real men and women, from teachers in one-room shacks to professors in red brick universities. Fairclough explores how teachers inspired and motivated generations of children, instilling values and knowledge that nourished racial pride and a desire for equality. At the same time, he shows that they were not just educators, but also missionaries, politicians, community leaders, and racial diplomats. Black teachers had to negotiate constantly between the white authorities who held the purse strings and the black community’s grassroots resistance to segregated standards and white power. Teachers were part of, but also apart from, the larger black population. Often ignored, and occasionally lambasted, by both whites and blacks, teachers were tireless foot soldiers in the long civil rights struggle.