In 2010, Arizona’s legislature passed a bill that increased the state’s ability to enforce immigration law, epitomizing the growing xenophobia in the United States. Along with similar legislation, this law attempts to reclaim the centrality of Empire by controlling the bodies within the sovereign’s borders. In order to investigate the discursive relationship between sovereignty and the immigrant, I draw on Jacques Derrida’s discussion of hospitality. I argue that the current immigration laws operate as laws of conditional hospitality, interpreting the guest – the immigrant – within the rule of the host – the sovereign. However, the immigrant subject potentially violates these rules and insists upon an unconditional hospitality. From Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s theories on Empire and the multitude, I examine how the immigrant unveils Empire’s vulnerability, forcing Empire to respond violently. The possibility of the multitude opens up the possibility of an unconditional hospitality. The immigrant’s ironic exodus – an exodus of arrival – suggests an opportunity to disrupt the violence of Empire and to work toward democracy.
Radio was an extraordinarily influential technology in the period between the two World Wars. While historians from Warren Susman to Michele Hilmes have tended to interpret radio in this period as a homogenizing force, it also provoked fears of anti-democratic demagoguery that were frequently associated with fascism. This essay focuses on the work of the most influential radio theorists of the interwar period, Theodor Adorno, Rudolph Arnheim and Hadley Cantril, to develop a cultural interpretation of radio that addresses its perceived anti-democratic potential. Apparently homogenizing but clearly multiplicitous and chaotic, radio appealed to emotions at the sub-rational level while also attracting listeners into complexly shifting social formations. As Adorno, Arnheim, and Cantril argue, albeit in importantly different ways, the attractions of radio created a homogeneity that was not always conducive to democratic culture. The intervention of these three thinkers is especially important as some of the earliest reflection on the effects of the new mass media on American political culture.
This article explores how contemporary vampire stories present the vampire’s perspective, placing it in the context of long-seated American fears about monsters going back to seventeenth-century Puritans, who feared that they lived in a world where the devil was constantly lurching. It also engages with modern rewritings of famous, classical literary works trying to present the other side of the story, a convention that vampire stories, in giving a fresh look on the vampire’s perspective, also develop. This article further analyzes the portrayal of the vampire in the light of the dark hero and feminist criticisms of the gender dynamics in Twilight.
Although the vampire has been a common figure in literature since the publication of Polidori’s The Vampyre in 1819, it has been in the last decades when the vampire has become a prominent character, especially thanks to the writings by Anne Rice, Stephanie Meyer or Charlaine Harris, among others. Although their portrayal of the vampire differs, their novels have become bestsellers and, in some cases, have been made into successful movies or television series promoting a huge merchandising and fandom. Of the three authors mentioned before, Rice and Harris are the most similar in their portrayal of the vampire and in the use of Louisiana as the setting for most of their writing. It may be believed that the choice of Louisiana is just a coincidence or that it has to do with both authors being raised in the South of the United States. However, in this article I want to analyze more deeply the reasons why these two authors have chosen this Southern state. For this purpose, the analysis of these two writers will focus on the portrayal of Louisiana as a place that supernatural beings seem to choose for establishing their home and on the reasons why they do so. From Anne Rice’s accurate portrayal of New Orleans and colonial manor houses on swamp areas to Charlaine Harris’s invented Bon Temps, we can see how Louisiana is not only the setting of these stories but also a character in itself.
The sensational literature of nineteenth century American author George Lippard has been traditionally neglected and overshadowed by his contemporaries like Poe, Melville, Hawthorne and Whitman, despite the social relevance of his work during the antebellum period. Lippard’s work deserves critical examination because the sensational aspects of his stories are prime sites for understanding the intersections between popular political beliefs and popular forms of literature that produce national narratives reflecting the social and political temperament of antebellum America. In the past two decades, Lippard’s U.S.-Mexico war novelette, ’Bel of Prairie Eden, has undergone critical examination by scholars who are interested in how ’Bel and other U.S.-Mexico War novelettes construct a national narrative of the war that, according to Shelley Streeby, stages the United States’ “unity against the imagined disunity of Mexico.” My project also takes a critical look at ’Bel with regard to the national anxieties about the potential consequences of the war with Mexico that forms the bedrock of the narrative. I argue that Lippard attempts to establish borders of race and nation between Mexico and the United States in ’Bel, but in the process, these demarcations prove to be unstable and are constantly transgressed thereby exposing national anxieties about racial integration and U.S. expansionism due to the U.S.-Mexico war. As a result, Mexico emerges as an uncanny double of the United States, and the instability of borders in the novelette call into question the so-called unity and superiority of the United States.