Category Archives: cultural studies

April 23, 2015, 6:41 pm

Weekend Link Love from Tenured Radical

0725_monopolyBest news ever! My conversation with Chauncey DeVega is up at We Are Respectable Negroes. Actually it’s been up since last week, and the conference, post conference, omigod-am-I-leaving-town-again cycle prevented me from posting it here. Apologies to all DeVega fans.

In any case, it was really fun to engage with Chauncey, who did me the favor of making a virtual visit to my blogging class in the fall. We covered, in his words, “police brutality and life in New York in the shadow of the Eric Garner case; the perils, joys, and challenges of public pedagogy and intellectual work; and share[d] some fun stories about the naughty, titillating, and scintillating things that can be found in famous folks’ personal archives and collections.”

And other stuff. We are an awesome pair, and thinking of giving Rachel Maddow a run for her $$. Since the weekend is almost here, enjoy: click here to…

Read More

October 18, 2014, 11:00 am

Feminism and Country Music: Gasoline and Matches?


Connie Britton, a.k.a, Rayna James: the people’s feminist?

The Radical household caught up with Nashville last night, one of our favorite shows. Serious debate ensued.  Will Juliette Barnes keep the baby? How very doomed is Deacon Claybourne’s new relationship with Luke Wheeler’s backup singer, since he will always be in love with Rayna Jaymes — who is engaged to marry Luke? How many people over 40 were having flashbacks, not just to “the accident,” but to Princess Di, as Rayna and Sadie Stone fled the paparazzi rioting outside the wedding dress store in a souped up Mustang convertible? When did actress Connie Britton, who plays Rayna, become the ultimate abortion counselor, here and on Friday Night Lights? 

These are the questions that consume us, even as work piles up in the in box. SPOILER ALERTS BELOW …

Read More

September 16, 2014, 10:03 pm

University News Roundup: Blood, Ashes, Rape and Murder


It’s. On. The. Syllabus.

The semester is off to a great start! In university news, we have:

He Is The One Who Knocks: The Washington Times reports that Georgetown undergrad Daniel Milzman has pleaded guilty to manufacturing the deadly poison ricin, and will be sentenced on November 10. Prosecutors claim he got the idea from the hit teevee series “Breaking Bad.” Colleagues: has the chemistry major been spiking since this show became a hit? Are your students suddenly turning up managing the local car wash? Enquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday: reports that the president of the Ohio University student senate was challenged to the ALS ice bucket thingie by OU President Roderick McDavis. All in good fun, right? Not so fast. On September 2, Megan Marzec posted a video of herself…

Read More

June 20, 2014, 9:44 am



Fill in the blank: “There’s a _____ born every minute.”

In today’s New York Times,  award-winning writer Tony Horwitz discusses the swampy territory of born-digital publishing. Secure in his reputation and presumably able to pay rent, a new online publication based in Australia offered Horwitz $15,000 and $5,000 in expenses to write an in-depth, extended investigation of the Keystone XL pipeline. “At the time I was researching a traditional print book, my seventh,” Horwitz writes. “But it was getting harder for me to feel optimistic about dead-tree publishing. Here was a chance to plant my flag in the online future and reach a younger and digitally savvy audience. The Global Mail would also be bankrolling the sort of long investigative journey I’d often taken as a reporter, before budgets and print space…

Read More

January 28, 2014, 10:31 am

There Are More Than Two Sides To Everything


I welcome the broader observations about the current state of American Studies that Christopher Shea has made at the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Boycott Debate is Symptom of Broader Debate in American Studies,” 1/27/2014). However, I do regret the characterization of the ASA as split between, as he implies, progressive proponents of the boycott and “cultural conservatives.”

Why? In my view, this choice reinforces the views of the most vigorous participants in this conversation (including those who have become activist in their views that an academic organization has no business becoming activist) that there are only two “sides.” You can call them radical and conservative;  or perhaps you will want to characterize them as those whose faces are turned to an intellectual future and the angry traditionalists. In the dichotomies proposed, there is no middle ground, no place of in…

Read More

January 26, 2014, 11:09 am

Weekend Link-A-Palooza: Writing in Public and Cleaning My Desk


What if the writing were on the wall? Photo credit

School is starting most places, except at chez Radical, where we are actors in a movie sequel called “Sabbatical Part II: Producing the Manuscript.” Yep, it’s true. What LD Burnett began at the #GraftonLine, now a thriving enterprise with 142 members (10 newbies have joined in recent weeks), I would like to push to the next level with this new book blog, How Feminism Survived the Age of Reagan. It is hosted on my own web page, and I will provide links here on a regular basis. I have been toying with this idea for a while, since many writers develop a platform specifically for a work in progress. Based on the wide re-tweeting of this post, I thought: what would it look like to write a book more or less in public, and demonstrate the work that goes into producing …

Read More

August 6, 2013, 2:44 pm

Why *Not* Jeff Bezos? The Fall and Rise of Newspapers

337843ef-5a30-48aa-a8f7-ee569952eaddBy chance, I was checking Twitter only a few minutes after Donald Graham announced that his family had sold The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. I spent the next 45 minutes or so glued to my iPhone5, following the ensuing Tweets. Some were from nervous WaPo journalists clearly eager to show that they were on board with the new boss.  What a graphic example of how much the dissemination, and nature, of news has changed since the Post broke the Watergate story forty years ago.

Can you imagine how differently Nixon’s demise might have played out in a Twitterized environment? How low the mighty have fallen — but is it, as so many observers assume, the advent of the Internet that destroyed newspapers? I don’t think so. Nevertheless, multiple stories have popped up overnight, asking some version of the question: can Jeff Bezos save journalism? Some folks, like

Read More

June 17, 2013, 4:50 pm

Reasons to Quit Your Job, Part Eleventy

tumblr_m8t23d8EZ71rdpkbzo1_500Try Googling “Leaving Academia” and see how many posts come up. Lots. Many of them are sad or angry.  Some are very creative and talk about the real choices people have and why they activate them. There was at least one post making the rounds of Facebook a few months back in which someone struggling with an emotional disability and racism resigned, saying that it was impossible to preserve one’s sanity in the contemporary university. If you have tenure, or a tenure track job, you might want to check into these: what’s going on “out there” can really make you think hard about your own life and choices.

But then there are the other articles — the ones that the Huffington Post digs up, stories that are of “Jennifer Anniston’s Wedding on Hold” variety of academic news. Those are the ones that really cheer me up. (more…)

June 2, 2013, 2:55 pm

Gossip Girl: Hedda Hopper’s Conservative Empire

Jennifer Frost, Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism. New York University Press, 2011. 281 pp. Index. B & W illustrations. Hardcover $31.50; Kindle $15.12.


Hedda Hopper makes the cover of Time in 1947.

Every once in a while you read a book that is pure joy, and Jennifer Frost’s Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood hits all the right notes. It’s got movie stars, it’s got intrigue, and it’s got humor, it’s got a light but effective theoretical frame. Best of all, it’s organized around a driven, ambitious woman who — if she hadn’t played herself in any number of films — could have been played by Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, or Barbara Stanwyck. If they had dared.

Born Elda Furry in 1885, the butcher’s daughter who became Hedda Hopper fled industrial Altoona, Pennsylvania, with a suitcase…

Read More

April 30, 2013, 8:53 am

The I’m Too Busy to Blog Post: Fat Armpits, Supreme Court Mulligans, and Mad Men’s Recent History

There are papers to grade, classes to prepare, a search to finish, a conference to pack for, and yet….that last post gets colder and colder as the days roll by. So without further delay, here are some shorts to brighten your day:

itw_coverFat Armpits Are The Worst. Before returning to Brooklyn Sunday, I was in the newly-ronovated Acme Market in Bryn Mawr, PA loading up on my favorite diet foods — Tastykakes, scrapple — and reading gossip mags in the checkout line. The misogynist gem to the right caught my attention. Kim Kardashian, who was on the rampage last year because everyone could have a baby but her, has learned to her horror that a growing fetus can make a girl look dumpy.

It must be terrible to be so fragile. According to celeb mag In TouchKardashian is on the brink of a breakdown, having discovered that aging leads to age and pregnancy leads to weight gain. In her seventh…

Read More