Guest Editors: Valentina Romanzi + Bruno Walter Renato Toscano
The quest to define the true essence of US identity dates back to colonial times, long before the nation itself was formally established. Yet, scholars traditionally situate the first explicit investigation into what constitutes an American citizen in J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur’s Letters from an American Farmer (1782). The third of the titular letters, aptly named “What is an American,” offers a list of features that de Crèvecœur considered quintessential to Americanness: industry, freedom, individualism, equality, assimilation. All these elements converged in what later became known as American exceptionalism, a doctrine that undergirded (and, to an extent, still undergirds) most, if not all, of US foreign policy.
Leggi tutto “15/07/2021 – CFP: JAm It! Issue #6: The Fractured States of America”
CFP: JAm It! #5, Special Issue
“Watching the Watchmen:” The State of Policing in U.S. Cultural Production
US obsession with policing can be traced back as far as John Winthrop’s sermon “A Model of Christian Charity” (climaxed in the noted “the eyes of all people are on us”), delivered in 1630 on board of the Arbella. In one of white America’s foundational texts, the “eyes of all people” stand as an early figuration of panoptical undercurrents in the United States, whereby a professedly metaphysical yet very concrete control is enforced to safeguard social and ethical order. Canonical US literature, from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man also reminds us that order, even when not deferred to the State, has been violently enforced through coercion, stigma, or segregation throughout the history of the nation. Echoing the seminal figure of Esther Prynne, narratives produced by authors as diverse as W. E. B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and, more recently, Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, are figurations and proofs of the United States’ leviathan policing apparatus and its employment in regulating non-conforming subjects in the name of a perfectly-engineered City Upon a Hill and the capitalistic permutation of its transcendental concept of social order.
Leggi tutto “[Deadline Extended!] CFP: JAm It! Issue #5: “Watching the Watchmen:” The State of Policing in U.S. Cultural Production”