European Journal of American Culture 37.3 is now available

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Intellect is pleased to announce that the European Journal of American Culture 37.3 is now available! For more information about the issue, click here >>


Authors: John Wills
Page Start: 201

The mischievous, multifarious machinations of trickster Trump

Authors: Frank Sligo
Page Start: 203

The emergence of President Donald Trump on the US political stage has generated divergent and incompatible theories about his popularity. This article proposes that the figure of the trickster from antiquity and from more recent times as revealed within a diverse array of academic fields of literature provides insights into Trump’s public persona and appeal. While the various fields do not always share epistemological assumptions, nevertheless consensus exists on a generic trickster figure and its characteristics. Five such characteristics of trickster are identified, all of which are arguably able to be mapped onto the public persona of Donald Trump. The article explores insights into both carnival and the marketplace, in both of which settings hierarchies are said to be challenged and levelled. The 2016 Trump campaign illustrated how the disorder associated with trickster infiltrated US politics and showed how trickster in the form of Mr Trump remains independent from traditional social expectations and controls. The conclusion suggests that the parallels between Trump and the deeply embedded trickster cultural archetype help to explain some of his popular appeal.

The shifting cinematic portrayal of managers in the United States post-2008

Authors: Mark Houssart
Page Start: 223

I examine cinematic depictions of American corporate managers since 2008, extending previous discussions. Experts agree that earlier filmic representations often showed managers as at best indifferent to subordinates, at worst cynical and/or exploitative of them. The standard archetype was seen by several commentators as that of the ‘Macho Manager’. Drawing on analyses of selected films and auteurs’ public statements, I argue that since the financial crisis managers have increasingly been portrayed as vulnerable individuals themselves subject to unemployment, with problems in common with other employees, sympathetic towards them and on occasion willing to mobilize them for collective ends. I conceptualize the new depiction in the idea of the Post-Company Managerial Hero. The shift has been a conscious one on the part of auteurs. Given the cultural importance of cinema as a popular medium, demonstrating that such a change has taken place in the cinematic depictions of managers may help us better understand popular perceptions of management more broadly in the period following the financial crisis.

Paul Auster’s Oracle Night: The writing of a literary space

Authors: María Laura Arce Álvarez
Page Start: 241

This article analyses Paul Auster’s novel Oracle Night as the fictionalization of the creation of a literary space. Focusing on the figure of the writer and the creative act, the novel structures in a succession of different fictional layers that overlap and reflect on each other. In this sense, the novel becomes a novel within different short fictions that illustrate the process of writing. The construction of a literary space is compared to Maurice Blanchot’s theory of literature in the context of an intertextual influence between Paul Auster and Maurice Blanchot.

Preservation Park and themescape economics in Oakland, California

Authors: Nathaniel Sikand-Youngs
Page Start: 265

Preservation Park is a site in downtown Oakland, California, where original houses from the late nineteenth century have been restored in a re-creation of a period neighbourhood. This article begins by framing the site as a themed environment, or ‘themescape’, in which the act of historical preservation is undermined by various modern interventions that fabricate the past, such as the relocation of many of the houses from their original locations and the addition of idealized faux-Victorian details. Using the Developer’s Guideline, the principal text in the design of the site and contemporaneous city planning documents, the article identifies how the artificial reproduction of Victorian Oakland was intended to increase investment and reverse economic decline in the city centre. Drawing on theories of tourism and gentrification, the article analyses the design and theming of Preservation Park as economic devices and aesthetic entities that restrict movement, create a visual experience and use various signifiers of private space to make the site exclusive and valuable. These readings are then employed to contextualize the site’s racial and social history, leading to a discussion of the relationship between the economic objectives, the theming and the actual usage of Preservation Park and similar sites.

Book Reviews

Authors:  Harriet Stilley And  Daniel Weston And  Ellen Dillon And  Tim Dean And  Calvin Fagan And  Nick Jones And  Johanna C. Kardux And Amy K. King
Page Start: 285

Contemporary Masculinities in Fiction, Film and Television, Brian Baker (2015)
Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species, Ursula K. Heise (2016)
Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Donna Haraway (2016)
The War on Sex, David M. Halperin and Trevor Hoppe (eds) (2017)
The Hollywood War Film: Critical Observations from World War I to Iraq, Daniel Binns (2017)
The Imaginary Geography of Hollywood Cinema 1960–2000, Christian B. Long (2017)
Moby-Dick and Melville’s Anti-Slavery Allegory, Brian R. Pellar (2017)
Being Ugly: Southern Women Writers and Social Rebellion, Monica Carol Miller (2017)