New Book: Selected papers from MLE 2018


Ari Helo & Mikko Saikku, eds., An Unfamiliar America: Essays in American Studies. Advances in American History, vol. 18 (New York: Routledge, November 17, 2020)

This collection focuses on conceptions of the unfamiliar from the viewpoint of mainstream American history: aliens, immigrants, ethnic groups, and previously unencountered ideas and ideologies in Trumpian America. The book suggests bringing historical thinking back to the center of American Studies, given that it has been recently challenged by the influential memory studies boom. As much as identity-building appears to be the central concern for much of the current practice in American history writing, it is worth keeping in mind that historical truth may not always directly contribute to one's identity-building. Contributors include four former holders of the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Table of Contents

Ari Helo and Mikko Saikku

Part 1: Facing and Adapting to an Unfamiliar America

1. Jeffrey L. Meikle - "Hoist That Rag": Tom Waits, the Uncanny, and the Old, Weird America
2. Alan Taylor - "Damn the European Professors": Higher Education and Xenophobia in Jefferson’s Virginia
3. Janne Lahti - "Brave Men to Brave Men": Experiencing Honor and Masculinities on a Settler Colonial Borderland
4. Mark A. Brandon - Aleš Hrdlička and the Boundaries of Whiteness

Part 2: Conservatives and Liberals in the Unfamiliar Trumpian America

5. Lauren F. Turek - Defending the Unreached and Unknown: American Evangelical Advocacy for International Religious Freedom
6. James Henson - Elite Unfamiliarity and Popular Recognition: Texas Tea Party Republicans’ Embrace of Donald Trump in 2016
7. Markku Ruotsila - Trump and the Christian Right: The Political Theology Behind the Mutual Attraction
8. Jerry Pubantz - Voting Against the Unfamiliar: The Rural/Urban Divide in U.S. Elections
9. Bo Pettersson - It Can't Happen Here: The Struggle Against Tyranny and the Trouble with Liberalism

Part 3: African American History and the Present

10. William H. Chafe - History Matters
11. Niko Heikkilä - Race in the Cultural Politics of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan
12. Elliott J. Gorn - Emmett Till, History and Memory
13. Cheryl Greenberg - The Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement for Activists in Xenophobic Times


You can purchase a copy from the Routledge web shop.