Netherlands American Studies Association

New Book Publications

Check out two recent publications written by NASA members!

Public Health and the American State – Gaetano Di Tommaso, Dario Fazzi, Giles Scott-Smith (eds)

Public Health and the American State explores how public health concerns and political agendas influenced each other in the US over the past century, provides a comparison of the Spanish Flu and Covid-19 pandemics, giving insights into how the US government responded and what has been learned over the past century, covers how responses to disease have stratified society along race, gender, and class lines, furthering inequality instead of improving public health, includes cross-disciplinary studies, ranging from the hisoty of medicine to social history, economics and cultural studies, includes case studies which are based on unique research on specific threats to public health such as polio, diabetes, HIV-AIDS, and Tuberculosis, the case studies critically examine the varying governmental and market-based responses to public health crises, and how these have changed and clashed over time

This book offers an insightful discussion of the complex relationship between public health, US democracy and power during the so-called American century. It sheds light on the intricate history of the US public health system, examining how the development of the federal government has shaped its trajectory. By exploring the intertwined roles of politics, race and socio-economic factors, the contributors uncover the challenges and contradictions of public health in the US from the Spanish Flu to Covid-19. They also investigate the connections between public health and America’s aspirations as a global power, as well as its domestic implications for social cohesion and institutional legitimacy. The focus on the American century provides a critical historical timeframe for an in-depth understanding of the connections between public health, people and power, on both the domestic and global stages.

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Democracy of the Wild West – Kenneth Manusama

Is democracy in America in danger? A lot of people had this thought when Donald Trump was president. When he lost, democracy seemed saved. It was a nice thought, but hardly reality. The issues with American democracy did not start with Trump, and did not end with his defeat in 2020. Trump’s many speeches and a minority faction in conservative circles, as well as their capture of the Republican Party have made clear that in the run up to the 2024 elections, democracy still takes a back seat in pursuit of their agenda. This anti-democratic and authoritarian sentiment is not unique in American history, and the structural vulnerabilities of the democratic system – painfully exposed in the Trump-years – make the dangers to democracy more serious than ever.

The book ‘Democracy of the Wild West’ (in Dutch) shows how these vulnerabilities have been exploited and the reasons for that exploitation; how democracy is sacrificed with constitutional means in search of an America that has never existed. On account of race, and based in religion, reactionaries have always been willing to manipulate the political and electoral process. Why? In order to counteract and even reverse the fulfilment of Thomas Jefferson’s false Promise of Equality of minority groups. 

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