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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    currently at work on a book Noir Nation Cold War U S Culture 1945 1960 Tony Dokoupil is pursuing his doctorate in Communications at Columbia University Prior to school he worked as staff writer for a now defunct film weekly and as a faulty media strategist for a humongous public relations company In school he edits the Columbia Journal of American Studies and is a frequent contributor to the New Partisan Publisher s Weekly and New York Press He holds a B B A from George Washington University Jaime Noble Gassman is a 2002 2006 Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellow pursuing a Ph D in American Studies at the University of Kansas She received her M A with honors from Kansas in 2004 Her thesis investigated the rise of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Rasing NASCAR as a national phenomenon focusing on the role of corporate sponsorship and media coverage Perin Gürel is a doctoral student in American Studies at Yale University She holds a B A in American Studies and English from University of California at Berkeley where she studied with Folklorist Alan Dundes Her current work focuses on the counterfactual Turkish novel Americanization and nationalism Jason Heard is an M A candidate in American Studies at the University of Kansas He holds a B A in Philosophy from the University of Central Oklahoma Ed Ingebretsen is the Director of American Studies at Georgetown University and an Associate Professor of English His books include Maps of Heaven Maps of Hell Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King 1996 and At Stake Monsters and a Rhetoric of Fear in Public Culture 2001 He writes extensively on popular culture gender studies and religion He is an ordained priest in the American Catholic Church Wallace Jackson is Professor Emeritus in the English department of Duke University He has written on a wide variety of neoclassic and romantic writers from John Dryden to William Wordsworth with special attention to the poetry of Alexander Pope and in a series of essays to Thomas Gray His books include The Probable and the Marvelous Blake Wordsworth and the Eighteenth Century Critical Tradition 1978 Vision and Re Vision in Alexander Pope 1983 and two editions of critical essays on Pope s poetry He has published articles and reviews in thirty or more academic journals and essay collections On the tercentenary of Pope s birth he was one of the plenary speakers at the Clark Memorial Library From 1992 through 1996 he was chair of the English department and now lectures at the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement Celia McGee is a book critic and arts writer in New York A former publishing columnist for The New York Observer and entertainment reporter for the New York Daily News she now writes for The New York Times Elle Decor Culture and Travel USA Today and others A board member of the National Book Critics Circle she holds an undergraduate degree in American

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/contributors_notes.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    Brown and Rebecca Primus Knopf 1999 co editor with Cheryl Fish of Stranger in the Village Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing Beacon 1998 and co editor with Brent Edwards and Robert O Meally of Uptown Conversations The New Jazz Studies Columbia University Press 2004 She is currently Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies Kenneth T Jackson Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences Columbia University B A University of Memphis 1961 Ph D University of Chicago 1966 Professor Jackson specializes in American social and urban history His publications include The Ku Klux Klan in the City 1915 1930 1967 Cities in American History 1972 Crabgrass Frontier The Suburbanization of the United States 1985 Silent Cities The Evolution of the American Cemetery with Camilo Vergara 1990 and as editor The Encyclopedia of New York City 1995 Sudhir Venkatesh Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Research in the Institute for Research in African American Studies Columbia University He is also the Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy B A University of California San Diego 1988 M A University of Chicago 1992 Ph D University of Chicago 1997 Professor Venkatesh s

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/advisory_board.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    community and the general public at large conversely almost as many artists supported his choice It is so prevalent in American culture that many argue that the word has lost its power the reality is that the word can still be considered one of the few nuclear bombs of discourse turning any conversation into an extremely volatile and potentially violent one While the violence of the word stems from the racial history behind it the word is protean to borrow a phrase from Randall Kennedy It actually serves several functions within the black community and the rest of America has co opted many of these uses into its everyday dialogue although without question it still remains undoubtedly the best known of American language s many racial insults evolving into the paradigmatic epithet Kennedy Who Can Say 87 American History X offers us the opportunity to examine some of the many nuances inherent in this word Before we go on to explore the many ways the word is used in the film a brief examination of the word s history is necessary According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word nigger is derived from the classical Latin word niger which simply means black Its earliest appearance comes in the late Sixteenth Century where the word had a neutral meaning a dark skinned person of sub Saharan African origin or descent OED The word has been variously used over the centuries by both whites and blacks in a variety of manners used by whites or other non blacks as a relatively neutral term with no specifically hostile intent 1574 used by whites or other non blacks as a hostile term of abuse or contempt 1775 used by blacks as a neutral or favorable term 1831 used by blacks as a depreciatory term 1834 OED By the time the early Nineteenth Century had passed it was clear that both whites and blacks had come to use the term in a derogatory fashion although the late Twentieth Century and early Twenty First Century have given us the term nigga which is an alleged reappropriation of the word by certain segments of the Black community which is meant to eliminate the power of the word much like homosexuals have taken back the word queer In Who Can Say Nigger And Other Considerations Randall Kennedy emphasizes the various functions of the word in much the same way the OED does except in this case he borrows from Geneva Smitherman s 1977 work Talkin and Testifyin The Language of Black America where it is made clear that along with the four uses outlined by the OED there is a further stratification of use within the black community itself Blacks attach four different meanings to nigger simple identification as black to express disapproval of a person s actions identification and sharing of values and experiences of black people as a term of personal affection or endearment paraphrase in Kennedy Who Can Say 89 Comic Chris Rock makes light

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/palumbo-1.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    American the modern supermarket is packed with a plethora of foods from mangos to Doritos packaged and marketed in an equally mesmerizing number of ways The promise of a varied diet was even used to lure prospective European settlers to the new continent before the United States even existed In 1616 Captain John Smith in an appeal to settlers declared with appetizing zeal the gastronomic possibilities of the New World Heer nature and liberty afford us that freely which in England we want or it costeth us dearly explained the legendary captain before going on to catalogue the delicacies bursting out of North American soil turnips parsnips carrats cabige and such the like However the reality of food in the Colonies punctuated by periodic draughts and epitomized by Smith s own he who does not work shall not eat policy was much starker Richard Frethorne an indentured English servant even begged for food in a 1623 letter to his family complaining since I came out of the ship I never ate anything but peas and loblollie that is water gruel So much for a varied American diet In fact for many new Americans the authentic American diet had to be anything but varied democracy was discursively aligned with the repetitive consumption of bland and monotonous foods and a diversified diet came to represent royalist decadence Benjamin Franklin for one was all for Richard Frethorne s limited diet Franklin possibly the first famous American flexitarian not only limited his own nutritional choices to the exclusion of animal flesh he also aimed to prove that consistency in food choice was conducive to a long healthy life In his 1771 Autobiograph y Franklin cites an old nun who like the indentured servant lived on Water gruel only The nun s longevity and apparent health proved to the ever scientific Franklin that one need not eat a luxuriously varied diet Franklin s own unexciting and phytonutrient poor meals consisted of boiled potatoes or rice a Bisket or a Slice of Bread a Handful of Raisins or a Tart from the Pastry Cook s and a Glass of Water Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries water gruel bland remained the authentic American way and having a taste for different foods was posited as a form of un Americanism a mark of elitist dissipation Described by food historians as gastronomic know nothingism this nativist suspicion of diversity in meals also made its way into the young republic s politics Thomas Jefferson the first presidential gourmet was attacked for his effete predilection for French cuisine and was accused of ignoring his native victuals by consuming unusual foods During the 1840 presidential campaign the Whigs accused President Martin Van Buren of a similarly aristocratic palate and charged him with treacherously indulging in strawberries raspberries celery and cauliflower In what came to be called the 1840 The Gold Spoon Oration Pennsylvania Whig Charles Ogle boasted that as a comparison their own salt of the earth candidate William Henry Harrison

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/eat-a-variety.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    simplistic and harmful critique of the Civil Rights Movement African Americans and others who sought federal assistance for their plights the magazine editorials argued had only to emulate the methods by which Asian Americans attained prosperity in the United States If one failed to advance economically or socially then that failure was surely one s own fault This pernicious line of thought even if well intended meant to counteract the increasing presence of urban riots black militancy as well as the general social unrest that pervaded the decade The model minority stereotype became a rhetorical and imagistic weapon designed to silence protest against the social structures that caused injustices and inequalities in the first place 8 Yet historian Robert Lee has contended that prior versions of the model minority stereotype arose during the late 1940s and early 1950s He positioned this emergence within three distinct Cold War concerns the red menace of communism the black menace of race mixing and the white menace of homosexuality 9 The domestic threats that fervent anticommunists made of labor unionists civil rights advocates and homosexuals went hand in hand with fears about these groups perceived treasonous activities weakening national security As proto model minorities Japanese Americans supposedly helped soothe these anxieties through their already tested loyalties and successful ethnic assimilation that all but guaranteed their complicity in maintaining the status quo Once released from the internment camps the Issei and Nisei simply wanted to rebuild their lives Because of the collective shame and traumas endured lost property and businesses separated families feelings of alienation and despair Japanese Americans sought a return to normalcy and remained relatively quiet about their experiences 10 As a cultural artifact of the 1950s Go for Broke certainly belongs with Lee s argument for redefining if not expanding our understanding of how the model minority stereotype worked The film conferred visibility to the Nisei volunteers as initial renditions of the model minority when they conquered German soldiers as well as American prejudice through their efficiency loyalty and hard work Their military service for the nation then provided the way in which Japanese Americans as a whole became accepted into American society without threatening its stability 11 Missing from these discussions on the model minority myth though is how it functioned within a Cold War transpacific imaginary Domestically the reenacted wartime heroics of the 442nd in Go for Broke offered moviegoers a reassuring narrative one that suggested that the American principles of freedom and democracy would remain ascendant in trying times whatever the nation s contradictory practices against its racial minorities And the Nisei offered living proof of this enduring patriotism 12 But the message was also vital to U S foreign policy initiatives in containing the spread of communism overseas The film s portrayal of the Nisei as early model minorities was part of a broader debate within American popular culture about these global concerns Seeking to enhance its international image the United States competed for anti communist allies in

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/tang-1.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    portrayed as sadistic killers How German American immigrants understood such images is uncertain but one may assume they recognized the Huns displayed in the popular culture their transatlantic kin by blood and language after all to be a mere hyphen removed from themselves at least to American eyes One way for German immigrants to prove their American ness ironically was to confirm but not conform to the stereotype that is to accept its claim that Germans were rapists and babykillers but then take pains to establish that they German Americans were not To prove their worthiness in other words Germans were forced to participate in the national pastime of Hun baiting to demonize their country of origin and thereby disown their heritage This unenviable tension which Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans too have experienced at different moments in American history contributed to a collective gesture of ethnic disavowal among Germans that led ultimately to their complete absorption into the mainstream of American culture and hence their literal disappearance as a recognizable group in American society Thus although more Americans in the nineteen sixties traced their ancestry to Germany than to any other country Germans as a group had vanished according to Nathan Glazer and Daniel P Moynihan s 1963 study Beyond the Melting Pot 311 emphasis in original This essay examines the role of ethnic stereotypes in German Americans post World War I disappearing act beginning with the stage and cartoon caricatures of the nineteenth century and culminating with the films of World War I As for other ethnic groups Germans popular stereotype had always wielded a double edged blade Protesting it as offensive served only as a tacit admission that there was something sufficiently accurate about the caricature that it hit home yet accepting or shrugging it off in hopes of disarming the stereotype signaled a willingness to distance oneself from one s core characteristics that led ultimately to ethnic erasure These conflicting attitudes acceptance of and resistance to the anti German stereotype met head on at the turn of the century as established culturally conservative Germans of several generations standing by the late nineteenth century were joined by a more recent wave of urbane early twentieth century arrivals many from major cities like Berlin and Hamburg Older Germans outlook was to some degree based on their having left Germany at a time when the mass media that later perpetuated anti German stereotypes in America in particular comic strips and film had not yet come into existence in Germany While such early to mid nineteenth century arrivals were perhaps willing to accept ethnic stereotypes on stage after all in the Volksstück the people s play Germany had its own stage tradition that poked fun at country bumpkins and the backward ways of the German hinterland these same Germans later took offense at seeing themselves mocked then demonized in comics and film 1 To members of this older generation the mass media that disseminated anti German imagery after the turn

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/conolly-smith-1.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    also devoid of honesty or personal honor given to drunkenness and gambling utterly without ambition sensuous libidinous even lascivious Generally performed in dialect coon songs employed catchy rhythms and were meant to be hilariously funny 3 Russell Sanjeck dates the first use of the term coon the now distasteful word in popular music as 1834 with the publication of banjo playing minstrel performer George Washington Dixon s song Old Zip Coon 4 As a character Zip Coon was a somewhat scary citified dandy in stark contrast to his more innocent rural counterpart Jim Crow The word coon as a short form for raccoon dates from 1741 and before Dixon s use of coon it meant a frontier rustic 5 In 1767 a black character named Raccoon sang a version of Yankee Doodle Dandy in the first British opera published in America 6 Several generations later in 1840 the Whig party established to counter the strong presidency exerted by Andrew Jackson used the raccoon as its political symbol Coon songs in the 1840s and 50s were merely Whig political songs but by 1862 the term had come to mean a Black 7 One explanation for this is according to the American Dictionary of English 1944 that it denoted the name of the animal which Southern Negroes were supposed to enjoy hunting and eating 8 In The Wages of Whiteness David R Roediger argues that the term coon like buck and Mose became a racial slur only gradually 9 The Parlor Songs Association also insists that the term was not a racial slur originally but rather evolved into that with some additional confusion some contemporary composers who didn t know better confused the raccoon with the possum often using the two animals interchangeably There is however no existing legacy for the possum song 10 Within the context of the cultural racism of the period however is this contradictory fact in the world of American popular music black performers and songwriters were accomplishing racial border crossings that were unprecedented Black performers were appearing more and more before white audiences Black songwriters were succeeding not only in the kind of Negro genre music that may have been predictable but in the realm of sentimental white popular music as well And finally in the emerging field of acoustically recorded music black performers came to represent notable leaders in this new technology In an era of such severe racism how were African American performers able to cross the color line to white audiences Where did African American songwriters learn their craft How were African American writers and performers in spite of their personal feelings and beliefs an integral part of the coon song tradition When were African American songwriters finally free of white cultural expectations of black life and experience Why was the popular music business both traditional and emerging more open to African American participation than other enterprises To what extent was the coon song an important interface between the music of the old minstrel

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/salem1.html (2016-02-12)
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  • CJAS | The Columbia Journal of American Studies
    a chapter three on 1950s booms Here Patterson finds much to admire in Landon Jones Great Expectations America and the Baby Boom Generation 1980 With Jones Patterson plants the seeds of explanation in young parents the so called Silent Generation who began bearing children in the demographic Baby Boom Patterson reflected Not only veterans but also their younger brothers and sisters maturing in the next few years developed rising aspirations amid the increasingly prosperous economic climate Most of them knew that they were better off than their parents had been at their age They the young sensed that they could afford to marry buy a house start a family and educate their children In this way as in so many others the health of the economy as well as the optimistic perceptions of continuing prosperity drove social change in postwar America p 79 italics mine Patterson fairly noted that early baby boomers had very different life experiences from later ones but nevertheless argued that the baby boom symbolized a broader boom mentality of many younger Americans especially whites and the ever larger numbers of people moving upward into the middle classes They were developing expectations that grew grander and grander over time p 79 80 These quotes foreshadow how a number of ideas and phrases will dominate the rest of the text abundance liberal optimism aspirations entitlements and rights consciousness Grand Expectations at once succeeds and fails because of its core argument In the first half of the book the thesis is quite convincing and the chief message acquits itself well as an organizing principle The book achieves it goals when covering the immediate post war period economic affluence consumerism and the more flamboyant excesses of some 1960s youth Patterson s argument succeeds when talking about the ever more important quest for satisfactory personal lives that increasingly defined the 1950s and 1960s p 37 As noted above the work adequately explains how increasing affluence and a buoyant economy helped foster social and legal expectations but undermined any sort of radical change due to an unwillingness to rock the boat of consumer prosperity p 60 It is chapter three that cogently makes the case for affluence being a legitimate source of raised expectations By the time the reader hits chapter eleven Patterson has really hit his stride within the sub theme of affluence The whole world many Americans seemed to think by 1957 was turning itself over to please the special God graced generation and its children that had triumphed over depression and fascism and that was destined to live happily ever after in a fairy tale of health wealth and happiness The cynicism inherent in the expectations argument allows Patterson to view the 1950s with jaundiced non nostalgic eye The conspiracy of happiness is driven by high incomes entertainment diversions film music and television mass consumer culture medical advances labor union successes voluntary religious conformity a decline in ethnic consciousness and suburban contentment The focus on affluence therefore explains the

    Original URL path: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/lacy.html (2016-02-12)
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