Category: Current Edition

Food and the Social Order

The current generation of food writers has taken this topic and turned it into an entire field of study. Talented writers have discovered a treasure of fascinating people and powerful themes in the products so familiar to

Ahab and Portrayals of Evil

How is an American villain different from a Russian villain, or a West African villain? What is “evil” to us? Why are some villains really powerful characters with deep grips on our imagination, and others

Richard Widmark, star of Pickup on South Street

Film Noir

When I recently circulated a list of presentation topics among the cadets in my “Literature and Empire” course, a third of them wanted to present the Detectives and Narratives of Suspicion topic. It is easy to see why:

The Woman in Melville

My students and I were considering a haiku about the wind from Mount Edo when one of my best cadets, Dawsey, asked out loud if the poet who wrote it (Basho) might be laughing at us for trying to read so much into his casual little verse.

War and the Natural World

The unintended consequences of war—both good and bad—are fascinating to my students. My cadets always engage with lesson plans on the technology that came out of World War II, for example, or the packs of wild dogs in Vietnam which are the descendants of U.S. canine corps from the late 1960’s, or the marine

Kingdom Under Glass

The relationship between man’s empire and nature is critical, as we are finding out today. Overwhelmingly the relationship is one of sheer exploitation, but

War, Society, and Commerce in World War II

The success of most wars depends in part on several important non-combat factors, and crucial among them is public support. In her fascinating and ambitious 2006 book, From Submarines to Suburbs, Cynthia Henthorn examines both the relationship of

Germany and America

We all tend to see what we want to see — in ourselves, in our friends, in our culture, and in other cultures. In his dissertation, Jens-Uwe Guettel takes a penetrating look at how Germany viewed

Visigothic Architecture

How do cultural influences travel from place to place? It is sometimes easy to trace these lines of influence in the modern era, but how did this process work in the past? Looking at the past, how can we decipher