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F. Scott Fitzgerald on Silent Film recalibrates the celebrated author’s early career and brings fresh understanding to the life of one of America’s truly great literary figures. Scholars have previously focused on Fitzgerald’s connection with Hollywood when he worked in Tinseltown as a screenwriter in the 1930s. However, this ground-breaking research reveals the key role that Silent Hollywood played in establishing Fitzgerald’s burgeoning reputation in the early to mid-1920s. Vividly written and drawing on a wealth of new sources, this book documents Martina Mastandrea’s exciting discovery of the first film ever adapted from a work by Fitzgerald.
Up in Arms provides an illustrative and timely window onto the ways in which guns shape people’s lives and social relations in Texas. With a long history of myth, lore, and imaginaries attached to gun carrying, the Lone Star State exemplifies how various groups of people at different historical moments make sense of gun culture in light of legislation, political agendas, and community building. Beyond gun rights, restrictions, or the actual functions of firearms, the book demonstrates how the gun question itself becomes loaded with symbolic firepower, making or breaking assumptions about identities, behavior, and belief systems.

Contributors include: Benita Heiskanen, Albion M. Butters, Pekka M. Kolehmainen, Laura Hernández-Ehrisman, Lotta Kähkönen, Mila Seppälä, and Juha A. Vuori.

Abstract

While marronage has come to symbolize paradigmatic resistance to slavery, and by extension colonialism, its primary sense—that of flight from the plantation—has not sufficiently attended to the modes of resistance employed by enslaved women who enacted other, multitudinous forms of marronage. Yet, by foregrounding the experiences of enslaved women in her novel Humus, Fabienne Kanor broadens and reconceptualizes marronage to include figurative modes of “flight” which occur within the plantation space. Through the figures of the domestic and manbo (Vodou priestess), Kanor shows how praxes effected by enslaved women—in the form of espionage, direct confrontation with Whites, or the cultural transplantation of Vodou—resisted, to the same end as literal flight, the social and cultural erasure of the plantation and its consequent dehumanization of the enslaved.

Open Access
In: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

Abstract

The concluding chapter wraps up the volume by pointing to the explanatory, social, and performative aspects of gun imaginaries, as understood through the various historical contexts and interpretive lenses that the contributors engage. The transdisciplinary American Studies explications of gun debates demonstrate the great significance invested in weapons culture in the United States, be it on societal, cultural, or academic levels. Guns as imaginaries galvanize individuals who are up in arms, while their actions and reactions reverberate into further imaginaries; thus, individuals and communities simultaneously shape and are shaped by the broader power relations that they are necessarily a part of. Ultimately, the exploration of Texas as a gun imaginary and guns as a Texan imagery provides a toolbox and a roadmap for future discussions of the significance of firearms in other geographic contexts beyond the United States.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas

Abstract

This chapter examines firearms fetishism as a complex assemblage of gun imaginaries and belief. Understanding fetishism as tightly intertwined with religion and shifts in gun culture over the past half century, the discussion focuses on Texas and its predominant forms of Christianity, and demonstrates the connection between gun ownership and religiosity. Drawing on research materials and interviews with Texas residents at a pair of universities in Austin, the chapter also examines the significance of two shootings in churches in Texas before and after a recent law (Senate Bill 535) that allows concealed and open carry in public places of worship. In this way, the chapter analyzes the nature of the gun owner’s relationship with the object and what it symbolizes. As viewed through the lens of fetishism theory, this may involve an explicitly religious aspect, commodification, or even a sexualized interpretation. Invoking existing gendered ideals of the hero archetype, firearms fetishism is revealed to play a fundamental role in the construction and expression of moral and religious identity in Texas.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas

Abstract

This chapter explores the act of political imagining around guns by centering on the temporal imaginaries constructed about the Founding Fathers in gun debates in Texas. It questions how the groups on both sides invoke the Founding Fathers as both objects and subjects of political imaginations. On one hand, political activists have created imaginary historical versions of the Founding Fathers to place them in relation to their own political imaginations in the modern day, to depict their stance as a continuum of a wider arc of history. On the other hand, the debates have touched on the potential limits of the imaginations of the Founding Fathers themselves, sparking discussions and disagreements on what the historical figures could have imagined in their own times. The chapter uses a body of materials drawn from media, activists, and fieldwork interviews to explore these two points and to elucidate through them the larger dynamics of political conflict in the contemporary United States. It asks how the temporal imaginaries of the Founding Fathers constructed around guns are drawn into larger ideological tensions that govern modern politics.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas

Abstract

The Tower shooting at The University of Texas at Austin on August 1, 1966 is among the first and most memorable mass shootings in U.S. history because of its wide media coverage. Drawing from theorization of cultural trauma and trauma cultures after World War II, this chapter explores the mediation and narrativization of the Tower shooting as a cultural trauma. In this framing, trauma is a product of history and politics, and subject to reinterpretation. The chapter takes a closer look at the KTBC special news report aired immediately after the shooting, and two narratives: Elizabeth’s Crook’s novel Monday, Monday (2014) and Keith Maitland’s animated documentary film Tower (2016), created in response to a collective need for commemoration several decades later. The narratives reify a particular imagery that shapes the collective trauma and its affective resonance. The chapter focuses on the gendered figures of heroes, victims, and survivors in constituting the collective trauma that emerges as a result of a cultural crisis. How are these figures highlighted in the narratives? What cultural values and concerns relating to mass shootings as traumatizing experiences does the gendered imagery reveal? An analysis of gendered heroes, victims, and survivors brings perspectives on the pervasive cultural mode in which the collective trauma of mass shooting is processed within U.S. gun culture.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas

Abstract

This chapter’s presentation of 17 full-color photographs reveals both formal and informal imaginaries of Texas gun culture, providing a visual context for the various subject matters discussed throughout the volume. This set of images was collected during fieldwork in Texas in 2018–2019 during the research project on Campus Carry conducted by the John Morton Center for North American Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. As such, it encompasses the “before and after” of the implementation of the SB 11 legislation, providing an alternative interpretative lens onto the conceptualization and experiencing of firearms in the campus space, as well as related aspects of gun culture in the Lone Star State. These visual materials offer a broader and more complex understanding of the ways in which people take a stand on policymaking, while also giving a useful tool to penetrate official discourses and historical imaginaries that might not be revealed otherwise. This chapter provides an important linkage between theoretical discussion and an experiential component, which focuses on both the research subjects’ and scholars’ spatial maneuvering within and outside of academia and other areas of Texas.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas

Abstract

This introductory chapter lays out the themes and research design of Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas. It explicates the ways in which imaginaries about guns have significant performative power and ramifications for individuals, communities, and the nation. Conceiving of imaginaries as gateways between the real world and ideological abstractions, it elaborates how they serve various important functions, driving legislative efforts, political agendas, community building, and social divisions. The chapter illustrates how the volume uses both historical and contemporary imaginaries as lenses through which to explore and better understand a range of cultural aspects intertwined with gun debates in the United States, and Texas in particular. As a nexus of gun debates, the Lone Star State has built its history, identity, and cultural mythology on stories that depict how gun culture was imagined into the very core of collective identity, built environment, and popular culture—with tangible, real-world consequences.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas
Author: Juha A. Vuori

Abstract

This chapter examines visual performances and videos promoting Campus Carry, which were produced during the contestation of the SB 11 legislation at The University of Texas at Austin in 2016. It views the videos as vernacular forms of social imaginaries of Campus Carry. Affecting what we are able to comprehend, through what Jacques Rancière calls the “distribution of the sensible,” our sense of reality, or a “common sense,” imaginaries construct different realities, including Campus Carry; they affect what can be seen, heard, and felt in and through their popular representations. To illustrate the visual performances of gun imaginaries in Texas, this chapter examines two videos produced by supporters of gun rights: one presents a publicly staged mock shooting on the streets of Austin, close to campus premises; the other is a professionally produced short that caricatures a prominent student activist from the “Cocks Not Glocks” group. In this way, the chapter argues that imaginaries shape how public morality and a sense of virtue relate to such contentious issues. They mediate socially constructed meanings and understandings of both security and insecurity, and thereby allow exploration of visions of the political that are contained in them.

Open Access
In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas