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The American Uses of History

Essays on Public Memory


Tomasz Basiuk, Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska and Krystyna Mazur

This collection of essays in American Studies investigates how American cultural production intersects with public memory. The contributions present the results of diverse fields of research. While most are literary analyses, others focus on film, art works, monuments, and other means by which public memory is shaped. The essays in this collection also analyze travel writings, records of political history, and the ways American agricultural landscape preserves traces of the country’s past.
Contents: Tomasz Basiuk/Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska/Krystyna Mazur: Introduction – Erika Doss: Who Owns Historical Memory? Commemorative Conflicts in the American Southwest – Edyta Frelik: «Ideas freed from events which brought them into being»: Jasper Johns’s Use of History – William R. Glass: «Do We Get to Win this Time?» Hollywood’s History of the Vietnam War – Radosław Rybkowski: Meaningless History: The Use of History in the American Musical – Marta Marciniak: «Do you remember rock and roll radio?» - Punk as Nostalgia for Punk – Jason Ruiz: Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Economic Conquest – Keith Griffler: Come Together: The Underground Railroad and the Project for the New American Century – Aleksandra Szaniawska: «Freedom Is Contagious»: Conflicted Relations between Black and White Women in the Civil Rights and Early Women’s Liberation Movement – Yuri Stulov: Black History in Contemporary African American Fiction – Dominika Ferens: Diachronic vs. Synchronic Accounts of Cultural Difference in Paule Marshall’s The Chosen Place, the Timeless People – Aneta Dybska: History and Heterotopia in Gloria Naylor’s Novel Linden Hills (1985) – Emilia Borowska: Gayl Jones’s Corregidora: A Post-Cartesian Response to the Past Which Is Not Her Own – Małgorzata Ziółek-Sowińska: History in the Music and Poetry of African American Spirituals – Jerzy Kamionowski: Out of the Past Endlessly Rocking: Audre Lorde’s Use of Dahomean Myths – Paulina Ambroży-Lis: «It Is this Brokenness that Interests Me»: The Aesthetics and Politics of Fragment in Susan Howe’s Historical Poetry – Paweł Stachura: The End of History in Whitman’s War Poems – Alicja Piechucka: «History Is Now»: Historical Experience and Historical Vacuum in T. S. Eliot and the French Symbolists – Mateusz Liwiński: Retrofuturistic Impulse: Skeuomorphs of the Atomic Era in Fallout – Justyna Kociatkiewicz: History as Loss, History as Waste: American Twentieth Century in the Novels of Bellow and DeLillo – Maciej Masłowski: «Like nothing in this life»: The Concept of Historic Time in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man – Gustavo Sánchez Canales: «In a Different World, We Could Have Been Real Friends:» Two Opposite Approaches to the Issue of the Holocaust in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated – Agnieszka Graff: «But this was not Nazi Germany. This was America.» Revisiting the Concentration Camp Analogy in Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique – Włodzimierz Batóg: The American 1960s: Historians’ Debate – James G. Ryan: Historians of American Communism Remain in Denial – Paweł Laidler: The Best Mean to an End: The «Three-Element List» as a Method of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Adjudication. A Historical Perspective – Damian S. Pyrkosz: The Past Revitalized: Preservation of the Rural America’s Cultural Heritage – Karol Derwich: American Exceptionalism in U.S. Latin American Policy at the Turn of 19th and 20th Century – David Jones/Joanna Waluk: The Magic Became Tragic: The Special Diplomatic Exchange Between the Republic of Poland and the United States of America, 1934 to 1939.