Now Available: Canadian Review of American Studies – 40.3 (2010)

Canadian Review of American Studies – Volume 40, Number 3, December 2010 is now available at

This issue contains:

The Forensic Gothic: Knowledge, the Supernatural, and the Psychic Detective

Ann McGuire, David Buchbinder

Abstract: This article analyses two television series first screened in 2005: Medium and Supernatural. It argues that, in the context of post-9/11 anxieties about the surveillance and defence of the borders of nation/family, the narrative use of paranormal phenomena offers a new forensic model. While traditional detective narratives rely on empiricist, Enlightenment ways of identifying and defending against the invisible, threatening other—making it visible and hence allaying the fears that it excites—these programs, drawing on the narrative strategies of both the detective story and the Gothic tale, offer a way of knowing the unknown and seeing the unseeable.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.289

Derelicte and the Oppressed: Zoolander, Hollywood, and Representing Activism

Kit Dobson

Abstract: This paper, reading from Gayatri Spivak’s ongoing revisions of her critique of subalternity, examines how the rebel figure in the 2001 screwball comedy Zoolander is brought into being and draws out the represented power structures according to broader social patterns in Hollywood depictions of resistance. While Zoolander is caught up in a politics that might lead to displaced forms of representation, its visual spectacle, juxtaposing poverty and opulence, illustrates a continuing problem in popular visual depictions of resistance and political struggle, a problem that requires analysis on a transnational scale.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.309

Exorcistes américains : la Heritage Foundation, la guerre culturelle et la sauvegarde du mariage et des valeurs familiales traditionnelles

Frédérick Gagnon, Catherine Goulet-Cloutier

Abstract: During the Republican Party’s national convention in 1992, Pat Buchanan claimed that a “culture war” was raging in the United States. While Buchanan described this “war” as a “struggle for the soul of America,” we use the culture-war concept to refer to the efforts of various conservative political and social actors trying to protect US traditional values and to “exorcise” the liberal and secular “demons” of the United States. Accordingly, this paper focuses on one of these actors: the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank located in Washington, DC. Performing a postructuralist discursive analysis of various “texts” produced by three scholars from the Heritage about marriage, family values, and sexuality, the paper shows how these scholars strategically rely on certain words and expressions in their research in order to reach two political goals: (1) marginalize liberal views on the issues just mentioned; and (2) discipline Americans by leading them to embrace a traditional/conservative interpretation of US national identity.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.327

Between the Town and the Mountain: Abortion and the Politics of Life in Edith Wharton’s Summer

Karen Weingarten

Abstract: In the early twentieth century, American laws focused on women’s reproductive capacities and were coalescing into the ethical and moral frameworks that subtend American reproductive politics today. Edith Wharton published her 1917 novel, Summer, at a time when anti-abortion sentiment was widespread in American culture. Through a reading of Summer, the article provides a theoretical and historical framework for understanding this new American obsession with the judicial regulation of women’s reproductive options. In particular, I situate the novel’s presentation of abortion within the tension between the carefully defined laws of North Dormer, the town in which the majority of the story takes place, and the lawlessness of the Mountain, a place that looms throughout the story as the protagonist’s birthplace and a location of utmost abjection. The novel’s profound insight is that power does not function unilaterally and individually but through and on the population. Furthermore, Wharton leaps ahead by recognizing that life is not simply that which lives but that which is recognized and embraced by the law. This realization, one that Wharton must have come to terms with through her painful work with World War I refugees, shapes Charity’s character and her understanding not only of how reproduction is regulated but also of how living within this regulation and control generates the norm and offers the only possibility for a liveable and legible life.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.351

Wax Coquettes: Elizabeth Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the Nineteenth-Century Travelling Waxwork Exhibition

Jennifer Harris

Abstract: This paper traces the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century production and exhibition of a waxwork figure of a literary heroine—one based on a real-life figure—as well as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s deployment of it, in order to assess how she was perceived in the popular imaginary.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.373

American Studies in Review

Peter Brown

Abstract: This essay reviews Don H. Doyle’s Faulkner’s County: The Historical Roots of Yoknapatawpha and Edouard Glissant’s Faulkner Mississippi. Doyle’s book is a detailed social history of Lafayette County, the county in Northern Mississippi on which Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha was based, and I argue that he illustrates the ways in which fiction and history can assist each other in the search for truth. Glissant’s book is more dense and philosophical, and I offer an interpretation of his claim that Faulkner’s fiction works through “deferred revelation,” a literary process that is inseparable from social and cultural Creolization. I argue that Glissant’s reading of Faulkner suggests possible ways in which to re-vision literary modernism. Together, the two books underscore the historical and philosophical significance and value of Faulkner’s work.

DOI: 10.3138/cras.40.3.391


Submissions to Canadian Review of American Studies

The Canadian Review of American Studies is published three times a year. The journal publishes articles, review articles, and short reviews; its purpose is to further multi- and interdisciplinary analyses of the culture of the United States and of the social relations between the United States and Canada. The journal invites contributions, in English and French, from authors in all relevant scholarly disciplines related to the study of the United States, and the United States and Canada, as well as to the borders “in-between.” The Canadian Review of American Studies has an international standing, attracting submissions and participation from many countries in North America and Europe.

Recently, the journal has received and published articles from the following disciplines: Anthropology, English, History, American Studies, Canadian Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Communication, Law, African-American Studies, Religious Studies, Economics, Fine Arts, Cultural Studies, and Humanities.

For submission guidelines, please visit or contact us at:

Canadian Review of American Studies
Department of English, Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6
Fax: (613) 234-4418

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