Netherlands American Studies Association

New Book Publications

Three books by NASA members have been published recently.

Giles Scott-Smith and Bram Boxhoorn have published a new book titled The Transatlantic Era (1989-2020) in Documents and Speeches. It is a textbook that uses key documents to interpret the three decades known as ‘The 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:
1989–1999: victory?
2000–2010: divergence?
2011–2020: disarray?
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. More information about the book can be found here.

Damian Pargas has published a book titled Freedom Seekers: Fugitive Slaves in North America 1800-1860. In this fascinating book, Damian 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. You can find more information about the book here.

Sara Polak has published a book titled FDR in American Memory: Roosevelt and the Making of an Icon. 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. More information about the book can be found here.

You can find more books published by NASA members in the NASA Members Publications section on the website.