“In the Hands of Babes”

By Bobbie Kirkhart

Photo credit: Petras Gagilas
Photo credit: Petras Gagilas

At family gatherings, my sister likes to tell the story of a time when the men and boys in her family were going out target shooting. The story goes that – as they were leaving one day – her second son, pistol in hand, turned around, exposing each family member, one at a time, to the risk of being shot. “What she doesn’t tell,” my nephew says, “is that I was eight years old at the time.”

My sister’s attitude toward guns is not unusual in the United States. We hear the phrase “responsible gun ownership” a lot, even when referring to children.

Accidental shootings are among the top ten causes of death for children in the United States. Children kill their siblings, themselves, and even their parents. Read more »

Grave New World: The Man in the High Castle

By Kai-Arne Zimny

Photo credit: Abhisek Dash
Photo credit: Abhisek Dash

It’s no surprise that the advertisement campaign done in late 2015 for a then upcoming Amazon Studios’ series was considered a provocation and had to be ended prematurely due to general outrage. Posters of the Statue of Liberty with its right arm changed to a Hitler salute were hung in New York subway trains above seats changed to spot Nazi-inspired insignia. One may or may not consider that tasteless, but it does the trick by pulling viewers into the uncanny world of The Man in the High CastleRead more »

Live Long and Make Bannock

By Drew Hayden Taylor

DrewHaydenTaylor

A million years ago when I was a child, I was always fascinated by what could be. I think this was primarily because I was surrounded by what was. As a Native person, I was constantly made aware of our heritage, our culture, everything from the past that made us unique and special. Also I was conscious of the fact that – technologically speaking – we were at a bit of a disadvantage to those who showed up one day for dinner and never left. I remember the first time I saw television, played with a computer, watched Star Trek, and got an electric toothbrush. Darn clever those White people. Native people constantly wonder at the clever innovations and devices the dominant culture feels the need to create – everything from vibrators to nuclear bombs.  Read more »

Nothing New on the Western Frontier

By Kai-Arne Zimny

Credit: Wolf Gang
Credit: Wolf Gang

Even though in folklore the term revenant stands for a being that has returned from the dead, the recent award-winning movie The Revenant (2015), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is not about a ghost – at least not in a literal sense. The Revenant’s screenplay is partly based on Michael Punke’s novel of the same name as well as several other books and films of the past that recount a true story from the early 1820s: Trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sets off on a fur-hunting expedition in an unnamed and undeveloped U.S. territory together with his half-Pawnee son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and a group of men from the Rocky Mountain Fur Company led by Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). After an attack from an Arikara war band brings the group close to annihilation, the survivors flee and Glass gets wounded – seemingly beyond recovery. What unfolds from there is a journey of adversity, betrayal, greed, loss, and a shimmer of hope. Read more »

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know: A Mixed Bag of Questions for Ira Wagler – Part II

By Sabrina Völz

If you missed the previous blog, then click here. Last week, we left off with Ira Wagler talking about the difficulty of writing Growing Up Amish. In the following video, he continues in the same vein with the tricky topics of guilt, reception of his book, and the challenge of finding the right title, just to name a few. Without further ado, the American Studies Blog now brings you Part II.

Still have questions? Then why not get a copy of Ira Wagler’s book, explore the leading website on Amish studies, or join the Amish scholars, professionals, and educators at the international conference, “Continuity and Change: 50 Years of Amish Society” hosted by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania from June 9-11, 2016?