Unusual Friendships: Interspecies Relationships

By Maria Moss

Photo Credit: “Interspecies Bonding” by Senthi Aathavan

One not so common topic in the broad field of animal studies is the interaction between different animal species. Until recently, any suggestion that interspecies relationships might be based on companionship would have probably met with derision and been dismissed as anthropomorphic illusions. These attitudes, however, are bound to change as research is gradually beginning to erode some boundaries separating Homo sapiens and other animals. If you’re interested (or like your students to get interested in) interspecies communication, these five videos might be the right ones to start out with:

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Human-Animal Studies – The ASB Editors’ Favorite Picks (Part II)

By Maria Moss

Claudine André with a bonobo. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_language#/media/File:Claudine_andre.jpg

When we think about relationships between human animals and non-human animals, we often think of the relationship between guardians and pets. However, there’s so much more to the topic. This week, I’ll continue our series on Digital American Studies by sharing with you some wonderful videos on human-animal studies I found useful for undergraduate classes. Whenever I teach ecocritical theory – for instance my project seminar, “Study & Save: Eco-Critical Theory in Action” – I make sure it always has a practical component. And even in seminars on North American culture, ecocritical topics (e.g. fracking, plastic oceans, deforestation, and loss of species) are always part of the deal.

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Digital American Studies – The ASB Editors’ Favorite Picks (Part I)

By Sabrina Völz

Credit: “Netiquette1” by Helen DeWaard

Everyone is writing about the shift to digital teaching in wake of the coronavirus crisis. The focus on Twitter and diverse blogs seems to be mainly on how to use various conferencing and digital tools, such as Zoom, Flip Grid, and Padlet. Since both Maria and I live in somewhat rural areas with unbelievably poor internet connections, complete home office is not a possibility for us, and we are wondering how many students will have problems to use tools that require a high-speed internet connection. Those students won’t have the opportunity, though, to make use of university resources as we can. For that reason alone – and we are sure there are many others – most of the advice columns say to keep digital classes simple and synchronous learning limited. We would, therefore, like to offer our readers a few suggestions for the teaching of American Studies that may ease the burden. Why re-create the wheel when you don’t need to?

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“Do they have traffic lights in Ireland?”

By Deidre Hutchison

“Do they have traffic lights in Ireland?” This was a naive question posed to my cousin on a visit to the United States in the 1980s. To my pre-teen intellect, this was the kind of insult that demonstrated the height of American ignorance my friends and I so often scoffed at. There was laughter at such a ludicrous concept.

The image of Ireland as backward bordered on comical and more often, irritating. After all, we were a nation with a deep history and a rich culture with literary giants like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yeats. Musically, we boasted the renowned talent of everything from The Dubliners and Thin Lizzy to the global phenomenon of U2. In our minds, we might be a small island, but we were extremely proud and accomplished.

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“By the Sword We Seek Peace”: The 1620 Massachusetts State Flag and Legacies in 2020

By Christoph Strobel

was late in June 2015. I was on a trip through the southern United States and decided to take a quick detour to explore the area around South Carolina’s statehouse in the city of Columbia. Here, only a few days earlier, Brittany (“Bree”) Newsome, had scaled a 30-foot flagpole to take down the Confederate flag, an act that had captured national and international media headlines. This incident was one of several notable recent flashpoints in the culture wars that rage over issues of historic commemoration.

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Sacrifice, Suffrage, and the Struggle for ERA: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2020

By Sabrina Völz

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that granted American women the right to vote. That is certainly reason to celebrate! But before you break open a bottle of sparkling wine, let’s review a few facts so we can put that momentous achievement into context for our readers less familiar with U.S. history.

Suffrage, the right to vote, was not extended to women at the same time it was granted to blacks in 1870. The first formal attempt to pass an amendment for woman suffrage – and there would be many – was introduced in 1878. For the next 40 years, that amendment was put to a vote in each session of Congress. Yes, 40 years! Let that sink in for a while…. Then, in 1918, the 19th Amendment finally passed the House and the Senate in the following year and was ratified on August 26, 1920. But these are just a few of the details:

After that long struggle, however, many women did not actually take advantage of their right to vote in the 1920 and 1924 elections. Apparently, they thought they already had achieved equal rights. Does that sound familiar? It should. It is exactly what some of the people who oppose the Equal Rights Amendment are saying in 2020.

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