Announcement: AMS Pecha Kucha

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UPDATE: Due to the weather, we’ve decided to reschedule this event for next week. More soon.

Today, at 4 PM in Burdine 436A, the department of American Studies will hold its first ever Pecha Kucha. Excitingly, both members of the faculty and the graduate student body will be giving presentations of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each. The lineup is below.

We See You: The Art of Surveillance
Randy Lewis

 

Saving Jeannace June Freeman: Capital Punishment and the Lesbian-as-Victim in Oregon, 1961-1964
Lauren Gutterman

 

An American in Vienna
Steve Hoelscher

 

“They Do Say It’s Real”: G.I. Pitchford’s Postcard Images of the American West
Jeff Meikle

 

Apple Helps Those Who Help Themselves
Andrew Gansky

 

Kicking the Football: Charlie Brown in the 1950s
Josh Kopin

 

Deconstructing Tiki
Kerry Knerr

Announcement: INGZ Gallery Show “In Heartbeats: The Comic Art of Jackie Ormes”

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On Thursday in GWB 2.204 beginning at 5:00 PM and running until 6:30 PM, there will be a gallery talk and reception for In Heartbeats: The Comic Art of Jackie Ormes, a show curated by Rebecca Giordano on behalf of the INGZ curatorial collective, of which our own Natalie Zelt is a member. Featuring “selections from four comic series by the first African American woman cartoonist, Jackie Ormes,” the show tracks the cartoonist’s career “beginning in 1937 in the Pittsburgh Courier,” and displays a selection of her “irreverent and witty comics tackling major cultural events in newspaper comics that centralized the experience of African American women. From the House of Unamerican Activities to segregated train cars that enabled the Great Migration, Ormes’ vivacious and intellectual characters countered pervasive stereotypes with images of stylish, self-driven, and savvy women of color.” We spoke to Giordano about the thoughtful and exciting show earlier this week, and will run that interview in the next few days.

Announcement: See these talks at the Texas Book Festival

The annual Texas Book Festival is upon us this weekend, so we’ve curated a list of events that would be of interest to friends of American Studies for your perusal and planning.

We’d like to draw your attention especially two events with American Studies participants. The first is a discussion moderated by Dr. Steve Hoelscher: “A Long Walk Home,” featuring Magnum photographer Eli Reed. Eli Reed: A Long Walk Home presents the first career retrospective of Reed’s work. Consisting of over 250 images that span the full range of his subjects and his evolution as a photographer, the photographs are a visual summation of the human condition. This event will take place at the Contemporary Austin – Jones Center (700 Congress) at 2:00 PM on Saturday.

The second is a discussion moderated by Dr. Shirley Thompson: “Negroland.” Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson recounts growing up in a small region of African-American upper class families in Chicago during the civil rights movement and the genesis of feminism. With this point of view, Jefferson discusses race, identity, and American culture, through her own lens. This event takes place at the CSPAN-2/BookTV Tent at 12:00 PM on Sunday.

Here are some other things to do, too – enjoy!

Reagan: The Life (Saturday)
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM, C-SPAN2/ Book TV Tent

In his newest biography, historian H. W. Brands presents Ronald Reagan as one of the most influential presidents of the twentieth century. Brands traces Reagan’s life from humble beginnings to Hollywood actor to his rise as a politician and president.

The History of Franklin’s Barbecue (Saturday)
10:00 AM – 10:45 AM, Texas Tent

Get hungry for some barbeque with Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay as they talk about their new book, Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.

Jacksonland (Saturday)
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM, C-SPAN2/BookTV Tent

In his latest work, Jacksonland, NPR host and author Steve Inskeep dives deep into an era of change that spanned the country and shaped the future. The Trail of Tears, the Five Civilized Tribes and the acquisition of Jacksonland are important pieces of American history, all of which have two things in common: Andrew Jackson and John Ross.

That Day (Saturday)
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM, The Contemporary Austin–Jones Center (700 Congress)

Join renowned photographer and Texan Laura Wilson as she discusses what it takes to capture the many facets of the unyielding, ever-changing West in her new book That Day: Pictures in the American West.

Talk of the Town (Saturday)
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM, The Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca, enter from Lavaca St.)

Fans! Join two writers who are fans of each other. Jonathan Lethem and Adrian Tomine as they talk about their new respective collections, Lucky Alan and Killing and Dying, which explore humor, identity, and emotional vulnerability in both realistic and absurd landscapes.

The Dystopian Mirror Reflects the Past (Saturday)
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM, Capitol Extension Room E2.016

Whether the starting place is a reimagining of the Lewis and Clark voyage or a historic Texas War, the future is bleak. Join Benjamin Percy and Zachary Thomas Dodson, two futuristic masterminds, as they unravel the mysteries of the past and the ways in which it predicts our future.

The Art of Politics (Saturday)
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM, Capitol Extension Room E2.026

Join poets Mark Neely and Juliana Spahr as they discuss their latest collections and address tackling current events through poetry. From terrorism to environmental issues, two poets converse about their eloquent, witty works.

Place and Race (Saturday)
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM, C-SPAN2/BookTV Tent

Authors Wendy S. Walters and Jason Sokol discuss the dynamic and complicated course of civil rights over the past several decades in America. Racism emerges in unexpected locations, and the ways in which people resist, cope, and consent are not predictable.

Invisible y Sin Fronteras (Saturday)
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM, Ahora Si Tent (12th & Colorado)

Join Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Javier Auyero, and Ricardo Ainslie, writers tackling issues of race and place through different genres, as they engage in a wide-ranging discussion of Latino identity in Austin and beyond. (Spanish)

Desde distintos géneros, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Javier Auyero, y Ricardo Ainslie trabajan temas de raza, etnicidad, e identidad. Los invitamos a sumarse a la conversación sobre varios tópicos relacionados a la identidad Latina en Austin y en el país. (en español)

Wimmin’s Comix (Saturday)
3:15 PM – 4:15 PM, Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004

Cartoonists Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Anne Opotowsky, and illustrator Aya Morton discuss the role of women in comics, and the influences on their current works. From the subversive Wimmin’s Comix to Anna Tenna and the Walled City Trilogy, the graphic novel genre proves to be inclusive and provocative.

The Wind in the Reeds with Wendell Pierce (Saturday)
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM, House Chamber

With moving recollections of his family, childhood, and artistic journey, Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Treme) relates the story of his mission to rebuild his beloved New Orleans neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina in The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken.

A Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man (Saturday)
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM, Capitol Extension Room E2.010

Join the “Dean of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau as he dives headfirst into the inspiration behind his new book, a memoir which is equal parts love story and tribute to New York and the metamorphic power of art.

Invisible in Austin (Sunday)
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM, Texas Tent

Join editor Javier Auyero and some of his collaborating graduate students, Katherine Jensen and Caitlyn Collins, in discussion about Invisible in Austin, an essential study of the growing gap between wealth and poverty in a dynamic and overall thriving city.

Getting Real (Sunday)
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM, Capitol Extension Room E2.014

Saeed Jones and James Hannaham bring the crucial Black Lives Matter conversation to the forefront. Join Texas-native Jones and Bronx-born Hannaham in a cross-genre panel as they discuss how race and racism has influenced their respective texts and their poignantly unique perspectives.

Standing Out, Blending In (Sunday)
12:15 PM – 1:00 PM, Capitol Extension Room E2.026

Join Allyson Hobbs and James McGrath Morris as they share their investigations into the tumultuous history of racial identity in the U.S. in their respective works, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life and Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press.

Grant Park (Sunday)
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM, House Chamber

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts’ latest novel alternates between 1968, the year of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, and Chicago during the election of 2008. Grant Park showcases his talent for addressing racial tensions that are just as relevant today as they were during the Civil Rights era.

Her Texas (Sunday)
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM, Capitol Extension Room E1.026

Multicultural, multiethnic, and multidisciplinary, Her Texas includes stories, essays, memoirs, poetry, song lyrics, paintings, and photographs by 60 Texas women. Some of the contributors are here today to talk about her own Texas.

Grad Research: Graduate presentations abound this semester

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We recently highlighted some of the folks presenting at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting in Los Angeles November 6-9. But our students and faculty present all over the place. Here are just a few examples of the exciting new research UT AMS grad students are sharing around the country this semester:

Andrew Gansky

Graduate student Andrew Gansky recently attended the Society for the History of Technology Annual Conference in Dearborn, Michigan, and took part in the SIGCIS Workshop. His presentation was titled, “The Meaning of Life in the Automated Office.” Here’s what Andrew had to say about his paper:

Many previous studies have looked at computer automation, or the displacement of human workers with computerized processes, through the lenses of labor and economics. However, the effects of automation extend far beyond the workplace. I examine automation as a fundamentally social technology, which helps engineer human relationships as technological feedback loops. In this paper, I focus on Control Data Corporation’s proposals to computerize and automate the American Indian national education system during the 1970s, and critique the application of teaching machines as the displacement of human care and responsibility for maintaining a functioning educational system.

Josh Kopin

Graduate student Josh Kopin presented his paper, “A Cosmonaut in Palomar: Seeing, Showing, and Imagining In Gilbert Hernandez’s Heartbreak Soup” at the the International Comic Arts Forum. Josh sent us the following snapshot of his paper, and he has a longer description of the event here:

Although the Palomar of Gilbert Hernandez’s Heartbreak Soup comics is something of a backwater, a small town where news always seems to come late, Hernandez populates it with characters who have dreams that go beyond the town’s limitations, even as he centers their lives there. Although they could easily be trite or descend into kitsch, the stories set in Palomar are involved in defending the dignity of those characters and the legitimacy of what they want, both in the context of the small town and outside of it. Perhaps the most instructive of the many ways that Hernandez mounts this defense is the way he relates his characters’ imaginations to visual culture external to Palomar; this talk will discuss the ambivalent relationship that Palomar has with outside visual influence, beginning specifically with the moment in the 1985 story “Space Case” when Luba’s daughter Guadalupe, recently introduced to the mysteries of the cosmos, looks out her window and finds the churning sky of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. In order to illuminate the relationship between seeing and imagination, in order to figure out of if Guadalupe sees the same thing we see, I will approach questions of seeing, showing, and imagination in Hernandez’s work by further investigating the music teacher Heraclio’s relationship with and attempted dissemination of high art, and the presence, in “An American in Palomar,” of American photographer Howard Miller, who embodies Palomar’s conflicted relationship with seeing and showing as he looks at the town and the town looks book at him. These investigations will show both that, for Hernandez, ambivalence, perhaps even doubt, is the key to dignity and legitimacy, and that in his supposedly beleaguered backwater we can find a metaphor for comics’ relationship to other kinds of art.

Jeannette Vaught

PhD candidate Jeannette Vaught organized the panel “Beyond the Laboratory: Animals and the Culture of Scientific Knowledge” for the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Chicago. The following description of the panel and her contribution to it comes to us from Jeannette:

This panel looks at places where animals and science intersect beyond a strict research setting. Investigating material from across the globe, spanning the sixteenth century to the present, the panelists show how the use of animals in the production of scientific knowledge gets at larger questions about how scientific knowledge is used, what cultural anxieties it informs, and how animals continually shape the definition of science. Jeannette will join the panel, made up of scholars from a range of institutions, home disciplines, and career stages, to present her talk “Envisioning Living Tissue: Race, Animality, and Conflicts Over Vivisection in 1920s America.” This paper considers the battle over vivisection in 1920s America, showing how arguments for and against the practice depended on problematic conceptions of race and animality.

 

Security/Insecurity in the News, Sept. 27 – Oct. 11

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Hey there, sports fans! Here’s your biweekly round-up of security and insecurity in the news:

Is ethical parenting possible? (New York Magazine)

Marvel’s Diversity Issue: Screen Output Doesn’t Reflect Open-minded Comics (Vulture)

Videogames are making us too comfortable with the modern surveillance state (The New Republic)

It’s Always Time for a Midlife Crisis: When are people most likely to face a tough stretch? (Slate)

‘Drones might be the future of food’ (The Atlantic)

The state of the American war novel (LA Review of Books)

Die Like a Man: The Toxic Masculinity of Breaking Bad (Wired)

Thomas Pynchon understands the power of conspiracy theories (Salon)

Why are there still so few women in science? (The New York Times)

How music makes us feel better (The New Yorker)

For more about American Studies at UT, subscribe to our newsletter here

Stories from Summer Vacation: Superheroes in the Library with Andrew Friedenthal

I’ve spent this summer so far the way that hordes of Americans have – with superheroes!

However, instead of doing so in the multiplex, I’ve been sitting with my array of superhero comic books in the PCL, working on a first draft of my dissertation (which is, if it hasn’t become clear from this paragraph, about superhero comics – specifically in regards to cultural memory and history).  It turns out that you CAN have too much of a good thing.  For some stress relief, I suddenly crave a really complex foreign movie.  Maybe I’ll pick up ULYSSES for some light recreational reading…