Masthead small

Columbia Journal of American StudiesVol. 7 (2006)

"Sh-Boom" and the Bomb: A Postwar Call and Response

James M. Salem

Salem attempts both to paint a picture of the cultural atmosphere in the United States following the explosion of the first atomic bomb and, at the same time illustrate how R&B entered mainstream music in this environment. Unnecessary details ultimately detract from analysis in the periodically disjointed discussion.

Garbage Can Music!: Rube Goldberg's Three Careers

Matthew Axtell

Axtell raises a voice of dissent, undermining widely-accepted and incomplete understandings of Goldberg's work with a nuanced view of his evolution as a cartoonist. This well-crafted piece explores Goldberg's background to uncover overlooked factors which influenced Goldberg's artistic formation and shaped his cartooning agenda.

Beer, Sweat, and "Cojones": The Masculinization of Cooking and the FoodTv Network

Grace Russo Bullaro

As Bullaro points out, a variety of social and economic changes, and resulting confusion of gender-appropriate activities, have led to a shift in cultural attitudes toward men in the kitchen. Although masculine celebrity chefs undeniably have influenced the growing numbers of male home cooks, they have not, as many assert, ushered in a social revolution as women continue to assume primary responsibility for feeding.

Live Feed: Suffering in Public and the Motive for Culture

Ed Ingebretsen

In a discussion of western culture's complex and oftentimes paradoxical relationship with pain, Ingebretsen raises a host of questions that the spatial constraints of the piece do not allow him to explore fully. The author, however, comments insightfully on the prevalence of pain and its consumption in western culture, and, in the process highlights, the moral, ethical, intellectual and social implications of the public consumption of pain.

Looking Through Eakins to See Hopper

Wallace Jackson

Wallace Jackson's discussion of Edward Hopper explores the importance of Thomas Eakins' work in Hopperęs artistic project. Without all of the paintings at hand, the argument can prove difficult to follow.

Folklore Matters: The Folklore Scholarship of Alan Dundes and the New American Studies

Perin Gurel

Gurel simultaneously eulogizes Dundes and criticizes present-day American Studies work in an effort to revitalize revolutionary scholarship in folklore.

Race to the Top: Marathons Participation, Leisure Credentials, and Meritocracy

Matt Delmont

Delmont explores the rising popularity of marathon running, and challenges the popular conception that marathons represent the ultimate democratic experience, illustrating how a host of factors limit access to the sport. Delmont adds that marathon completion holds meaning beyond the accomplishment of the immediate physical task and allows the individual to pursue leisure activities that become proof of self-worth.

Consuming NASCAR's Rationalized Yet Reenchanted Spectacle

Jamie Noble Gassmann

Through consumption, Gassmann argues, stock car racing fans participate actively in a sport that otherwise excludes them, and make personal connections to sponsors, drivers and products as they negotiate individual NASCAR identities.

Reforming Sodom by the Sea: Coney Island, Prize Fighting, and Class Stratification

Jason Heard

Through the history of prize fighting in Coney Island in the late 1800s, Heard illustrates how empowered classes attempted to offset perceived moral decay and to maintain the existing social order by imposing Victorian middle-class values onto the working class through the creation of legitimate uses for public space and sanctioned leisure activities.

Nuclear Tourism and the Manhattan Project

Jenna Berger

Berger explores the growing phenomenon of tourism at sites central to the Manhattan Project. Rekindled interest in the history of the development of nuclear weaponry and the waning force of the Cold War consciousness have opened the door for the development of nuclear tourism.

Manzanar Revisited: Consuming a Dark Landscape

John Davenport

Though tourism of the Manzanar Relocation Center, Davenport explores the challenge of creating collective memory, through the examination of the effects of individual participation in the meaning-making process (both for the visitor and the 'master interpreter'), and discusses the pitfalls of interpreting the physical site from an imposed vantage point.

Struggling to Make Old Worlds New: Joseph Papp's The Naked Hamlet and the New York Times

Allison Bailey

Bailey chronicles the history of the contentious and yet ultimately mutually beneficial relationship between actor/playwright Papp and the New York Times, which confirmed the influence of the paper on the national theater community and allowed Papp to promote his projects and revitalize Shakespeare for the nation.

Norman Mailer and The Executioner's Song: The Courtroom as a Literary Space

Erica Wolff

Wolff distinguishes The Executioner's Song, from other similar works by highlighting the liberal use of artistic license in the creation of a fictionalized, high-profile courtroom drama which served as a backdrop for the discussion of larger issues facing post-Vietnam America.


Shannon Sonn

« Back To Journal Reviews

If you have questions or comments, or if you would like to submit a review of a journal, please send an email to Ben Wright at bgw2108@columbia.edu.

View Complete Archives