Cultural Politics/Political Culture Series

Speakers in this series explored the ways in which culture and politics have intersected in US life looking at visual culture, literary expressions, media, and historical collecting, in different historical periods, and to serve different political agendas.

The Senator and the Television Industry: William Benton, the Television Code, and the Race to Police Early TV Content

Thursday, 4/24 at 5:30 PM/ 725 Commonwealth Ave/ CAS 200
Deborah Jaramillo, Assistant Professor of Film and Television Studies, Boston University

In 1952 the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters implemented a code that severely restricted the form and content of television programs. Although multiple factors contributed to the NARTB’s decision to draft such a code, this presentation focuses on the role that elected officials—particularly Senator William Benton (D-CT)—played in provoking the ire of the television industry and its trade association. This research is part of Dr. Jaramillo’s current book project entitled The Code: Industry, Government, Viewers, and the Fight to Control Television.
Audio for Jaramillo Talk: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3


Famous Men of the Negro Race: African-American Literature and the Problem of Reconstruction

Thursday, 3/20 at 5:30 PM / 725 Commonwealth Ave / CAS 200
Amanda Claybaugh, Professor of English, Harvard University

At the turn of the twentieth century, a new generation of African-American authors came into its own. Writing in an array of genres, publishing in an array of venues, holding an array of political views, these authors were nonetheless united in their conviction that the primary purpose of literature was to defend and uplift the race. The result is an idealizing literature, committed to depicting exemplary figures from the present and recounting heroic episodes from the past. But this idealization fails when it comes to Reconstruction. Some authors are contemptuous in their depiction of the African-American men who held office during that era, while others ignore the era entirely, leaving a gap in their histories of the nineteenth century. Why is Reconstruction such a problem for African-American literature?What might this problem tell us about African-American literature more generally?
Audio for Claybaugh Talk: Part 1; Part 2Part 3

The Archive and the Making of Sectional Reconciliation, 1865-1880

Wednesday, 11/20 at 12pm / 226 Bay State Rd/ Room 504
Yael Sternhell,  Professor of History and American Studies, Tel Aviv University

At the end of the Civil War the paperwork of the Confederate States of America was gathered by the Federal government and stored in the newly founded “Rebel Archives” in Washington, D.C. Over the next fifteen years, this archive would play a number of crucial yet contradictory roles in America’s transition from war to peace. Drawing on theories of the archive and on collections of little-known records, Yael Sternhell will explore the essential and unacknowledged role of archiving in the emerging culture of sectional reconciliation.
Audio for Yael Sternhell Talk-Part 1Part 2

Shrieks, Outcries, and Fainting Boys: Homosexuality and the U.S. Cultural Front

October 10, 2013, 5:30PM/ CAS 200/ 725 Commonwealth Ave.
Aaron Lecklider, Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Aaron Lecklider’s presentation explores the complicated relationship between homosexuality and the left in American culture between 1920 and 1960. Foregrounding the cultural left — literature, performance, print culture, and the arts– Lecklider’s talk draws on research completed for his forthcoming book, Love’s Next Meeting: Homosexuality and the Left in American Culture (University of Chicago Press).
Lecklider Talk Audio -Part 1Part 2

All events are free and open to the public / Refreshments and receptions follow.

Series supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities