How ‘Avatar’ Critiques/Supports American Imperialism

Dominic Alessio and Kristen Meredith in their essay “Decolonizing James Cameron’s Pandora: Imperial History and Science Fiction” analyses James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction blockbuster Avatar as a critique to American imperialism. Their analysis is based on the socio-political contexts in which it was written, “namely the American-led invasion of Iraq during the presidency of George W. Bush (2000-2008).” According to the writers both dialogue and the plot demonstrate that the movie is the critique to American imperialism. On one hand dialogues such as “fight terror with terror”, “shock and awe” and a “hearts and minds” shows how the movie it want to portray America. On the other hand, the plot… Read More

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How to make American Studies Association more inclusive? Mary Helen Washington’s suggestions

Mary Helen Washington, in her inaugural address as the newly elected president of the American Studies Association (ASA) in 1997, advocated for the institutional change in ASA by asking a question to her colleagues and scholars. Her question, “What happens to American Studies if you put African American studies at the center?” draws the attention towards the historical marginalization of African American cultural perspectives in traditional American Studies discipline. Her address entitled “Disturbing the Peace” calls for the increased collaborations between the African American Studies and American Studies to reconstruct American Studies institutionally and structurally. Thus, the peace Mary Helen Washington intend to disturb is very simple. Washington, in her… Read More

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Why calling America an Empire is not Helpful

Amy Kaplan, in her 2003 Presidential address to the American Studies Association, suggests American Studies scholars to think more creatively and critically about what they mean by internationalizing the field of American Studies instead of calling America imperial. Though it is fashionable to say America an empire, Kaplan argues that the fashion to say America an empire is not helpful. In one hand, the United States shuts itself off for the world it seeks to control. Thus naming the empire has the potential to put American Studies scholars in conversation with critics around the world. As a result, it may help make the contours of U.S. power more visible. On the… Read More

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The List of Books for Final Semester

Ah! Its final semester of MA in English. Here is the list of books I am reading as my text books: American Studies: An Introduction (Collections of articles) Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahamsa Yogananda The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Inferno – A Verse Translated by Allen Mandelbaum The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore The Globalization Reader by Frank J. Lechner and John Boli The Hero with a Thousand Faces by  Joseph Campbell An Introduction to Visual Culture by Nicholas Mirzoeff Lost Horizon by James Hilton The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen The… Read More

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