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Spring 2023

Salon Talks

Once again, we have a terrific array of scholars talking about their recently-published books.  Salon Talks are an opportunity for local American Studies scholars to share their published work with an intimate audience. They tend to be small, lively, and informative.

For this semester, Salon Talks will be held at 6:30pm on zoom.


Kelly Ross (Rider University)

Slavery, Surveillance and Genre in Antebellum United States Literature

Slavery, Surveillance, and Genre in Antebellum United States Literature argues for the existence of deep, often unexamined, interconnections between genre and race by tracing how surveillance migrates from the literature of slavery to crime, gothic, and detective fiction. Attending to the long history of surveillance and policing of African Americans, the book challenges the traditional conception of surveillance as a top-down enterprise, equally addressing the tactics of sousveillance (watching from below) that enslaved people and their allies used to resist, escape, or merely survive racial subjugation.



Karen Weingarten

Queens College, CUNY

Pregnancy Test

In the 1970s, the invention of the home pregnancy test changed what it means to be pregnant. For the first time, women could use a technology in the privacy of their own homes that gave them a yes or no answer. That answer had the power to change the course of their reproductive lives, and it chipped away at a paternalistic culture that gave gynecologists-the majority of whom were men-control over information about women's bodies.

However, while science so often promises clear-cut answers, the reality of pregnancy is often much messier. Pregnancy Test explores how the pregnancy test has not always lived up to the fantasy that more information equals more knowledge. Karen Weingarten examines the history and cultural representation of the pregnancy test to show how this object radically changed sex and pregnancy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

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