How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement
by Ruth Feldstein
Published January 2014 (Oxford University Press)
[From the NY Times]: “Ruth Feldstein’s important new book, “How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement,” is an original exploration of the little-known but central role that black entertainers, especially black women, played in helping communicate and forward the movement’s goals. Lena Horne, Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson — the black women entertainers in this book — were popular at the height of an organized global struggle for black freedom, from around 1959 till the mid-1970s. They were influenced by this movement, even as they helped shape it.” Read the rest of the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/books/how-it-feels-to-be-free-salutes-black-female-entertainers.html?_r=0
But Where is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac
By James Goodman
Published September 2013 (Schocken Knopf)
[From R-N History website]: “Goodman’s latest book, But Where is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac, chronicles the 19 lines of Genesis 22 that have vexed theologians, philosophers and others for centuries, spawning questions such as: Why was Abraham so ready to follow God’s command that he kill his son, and why did Isaac agree to be bound on the altar? Goodman examines the varied explanations given by the major monotheistic religions, along with contemporary thinkers, across the sweep of history, looking at how theAbraham and Isaac story has morphed and the multiple contested meanings attached to it over time.” Read a Q & A session with Prof. Goodman here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/qa-history-professor-james-goodman-author-where-lamb
Fiction: “Mixipino” in Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America
Read the latest published fiction by R-N Doctoral Student Anna Alves in the recently released inter-disciplinary and cross-genre, Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America, edited by Mark R. Villegas, DJ Kuttin’ Kandi, and Roderick N. Labrador, and published by Cognella Academic Publishing. More info about the book here: https://titles.cognella.com/humanities-and-fine-arts/music/empire-of-funk-9781626612839.html. This fiction piece is also set to appear in a literary anthology in April 2014.
By Sean Singer
Newark’s literary culture, in some ways the soulfulness for which a place is known, is great because Amiri Baraka made it so. As an iconic example of urban literature, Baraka made Newark the focus of much of his work, even though Newark is not thought of as a literary place. His literary oeuvre, among other things, is focused, almost obsessively, on remembering Newark, living Newark, and re-imagining Newark of his youth. His work, taken from a point of distance, is a love letter to Newark. To read the rest of this excellent tribute, go here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/remembering-amiri.
ASA Members Vote To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel
The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval. The ASA website has a collection of supporting documents: http://www.theasa.net/from_the_editors/item/council_statement_on_the_academic_boycott_of_israel_resolution/. A story about the controversy appeared in the New York Times on December 15: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/us/scholars-group-to-disclose-result-of-vote-on-an-academic-boycott-of-israel.html?_r=0.
Measuring the polarization of American politics
by Jill Lepore
[From The New Yorker, Dec. 2, 2013]: The study of government, like the government itself, is in a tight spot. In 2009, during a vote on a House appropriations bill, Tom Coburn, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, tried to abolish the National Science Foundation’s Political Science Program, which supports academic research in “citizenship, government, and politics.” The motion was tabled after the American Political Science Association staged a same-day e-mail campaign to oppose it. Last year, the measure met with success in the House; House members who have few qualms about closing the Centers for Disease Control are not, generally speaking, daunted by the prospect of stifling the pursuit of social science. And, earlier this year, when Coburn re-introduced his amendment in the Senate, it passed with no more quibbling than the addition of a proviso that some political science could be funded: research whose purpose is “promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.” The President signed the bill into law in March.
The movement to defund political science stems from the belief that the National Science Foundation has no business funding political science, because political science is all politics and no science—except when it advances national security or boosts the American economy, in which case it is, naturally, apolitical and scientific. The political and unscientific stuff is the study of, for instance, gridlock. According to Coburn, one reason the federal government should not pay for political-science research is that “studies of presidential executive power and Americans’ attitudes about the Senate filibuster hold little promise to save an American’s life from a threatening condition or to advance America’s competitiveness in the world”—a statement that is difficult to square with the damage done to the U.S. economy by the ongoing budgetary brinkmanship. . . . Read the full article here: Lepore Long Division The New Yorker
New York Is Not Just the “Cradle” of Women’s Rights.
It’s the Torch.
by Louise Bernikow, The Huffington Post, New York
The anniversary of the New York victory for woman suffrage (1917-2017) in the not too distant future is prompting proud talk of our state as “the cradle of women’s rights,” which is true enough but only half the story. The phrase refers specifically to the revolutionary movement that began in the small northern town of Seneca Falls in 1848 and was propelled by visionaries like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Frederick Douglass.
That early movement was “cradled,” as in “nourished in its infancy,” by geography. Cities and towns like Rochester and Seneca Falls were the “north star” of the Underground Railroad, places packed with Abolitionists and Quakers and radicals of all stripes. The population nurtured the young women’s movement and provided a base from which its standard-bearers could venture forth to persuade the rest of the nation. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louise-bernikow/new-york-is-not-just-the-_b_4296460.html.
Poetry: “Picking Up Branches After A Wind Storm”
in Guernica Magazine
Read the latest published poem by R-N Doctoral Candidate Sara J. Grossman at Guernica Magazine: a magazine of art & politics: http://www.guernicamag.com/poetry/picking-up-branches-after-a-wind-storm/.
Kornel Chang’s Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands is Finalist for John Hope Franklin Prize
Kornel Chang was a finalist for the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize. The annual award honors the previous year’s best-published book in American Studies. He was nominated for Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands (University of California Press). More details here: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/history-professor-kornel-chang-finalist-john-hope-franklin-prize.
Sandy – A Reminder that human and natural history are inseparable
John R. Gillis is professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University and the author of The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History
FOR CENTURIES the coasts of Japan have been ravaged by deadly tsunamis. Local communities responded by erecting tsunami stones, not memorials to the dead but reminders of the highest points of inundation. In recent years, these stones have been displaced and forgotten. When the great tsunami of March 11, 2011, struck, local people had no way of knowing how far to flee. Almost 16,000 people died, and the number of missing remains at 2,652.
New Jersey might do worse than to erect Sandy stones to remind it of just how far the ocean can reach, but no doubt these would be objected to for the same reasons that Santa Barbara rejected painting a green line on its streets that would have marked projections of sea-rise levels. Critics objected that the line would lower property values and scare away tourists.
There was once a time when the traces of disaster, shipwrecks and ruined wharves were allowed to linger on beaches as reminders of the dangers of the sea. Today, sands are quickly cleansed, for beaches are the places we turn to forget the world, our chosen places for forgetting.
We live in an age of coastal amnesia.
- Read the rest of this excellent op-ed piece from the Sunday, 10/27/13 New Jersey Record: http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/gillis_102713.html?page=all.
American Studies and the Cornwall Center marked the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a lecture by John Gillis on Wednesday, October 30 at the John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark.