American Studies conference

Jasper Johns Flag

On Friday, June 10, 2016, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will host the 22nd Amerikanistendag, the annual student conference of the Netherlands American Studies Association. The conference provides a forum for talented bachelor’s, master’s, research master’s, and Ph.D. students as well as… Continue Reading

Angels in America

Angels 2

The academic reception of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1995) has pointed out that the play addresses a number of traumatic episodes in American history, including racial segregation, the Red and the Lavender Scare,… Continue Reading

Holy Camp, Batman!

Holy Camp, Batman!

At his conception in 1939, Batman was positioned as the grim answer to an upbeat Superman: instead of an invincible superhero in bright colors, here was a mere mortal struggling with ethical dilemmas in a darkly drawn diegetic world. Later… Continue Reading

The Purloined Letter


The Purloined Letter book club reads and discusses drama, poetry, prose, and theory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. All are welcome!   26 September 2018: Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange 4 July 2018: Alice Munro, “Royal Beatings” 23 May 2018: Steven… Continue Reading

The Year’s Work


The most recent volume of The Year’s Work in English Studies discusses Mama’s Boy. In the chapter on “American Literature: The Twentieth Century,” Mary Foltz gives an astute one-paragraph summary of my argument and findings, and recommends the title to… Continue Reading

Stuff Mom Never Told You


The feminist blog Stuff Mom Never Told You discusses Mama’s Boy. In postwar America, the discourse of Momism advanced the idea that an over-affectionate or too-distant mother hampers the social and psychosexual development of her children, in particular her sons.… Continue Reading