Revue Française d'études Américaines

Print ISSN: 0397-7870
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Ce débat a eu lieu dans le cadre du congrès annuel de l’AFEA à Rouen, le 30 mai 2003. Il a été publié dans le numéro européen de la Revue française d’études américaines (RFEA 98, décembre 2003, 116‑137). Il est reproduit ici avec l’aimable autorisation des Editions Belin et l’accord de la rédaction de la RFEA.
 
Laura Riding Jackson (1901‑1991) est connue comme une figure mineure du modernisme littéraire, et, singulièrement, poétique, américain. On l’associe à Robert Graves, au magazine Epilogue, et à The Seizin Press, qu’elle contribua à créer à Londres dans les années 30 (avec Graves). D’abord formée à Cornell, où sont conservés ses manuscrits et ses archives personnelles, elle a vécu entre l’Europe et les Etats‑Unis, avant de s’installer en Floride dans les années quarante, et de s’y fixer. Cet ou...
 
Cet article vise à retracer les enjeux d'une pensée postcoloniale évolutive et à examiner la généalogie des études postcoloniales qui résultent en partie d'échanges intellectuels et de transactions-réinventions entre les deux rives de l'Atlantique. Les deux temps forts de cet échange sont, à partir des années 1970, l'exportation d'une pensée dite poststructuraliste élaborée en France et sa germination dans les universités américaines puis son rapatriement hexagonal. Cet aller-retour a suscité en France certains malentendus. La critique postcoloniale, dans sa forme politique et surtout mémorielle, a pris le pas sur la théorie postcoloniale et sur l'analyse des discours. La méfiance qui règne vis-à-vis d'un courant de pensée qui semble faire entrer certaines disciplines dans une ère du soupçon traduit un malaise spécifiquement français par rapport au brouillage des frontières disciplinaires. Elle révèle également une certaine difficulté républicaine à penser l'articulation entre identités et altérités, à renoncer à un « récit national » du passé colonial, à faire dialoguer mémoires et histoires divergentes. Ainsi, malgré l'émergence d'un débat postcolonial français et francophone, le décentrement que traduisent et qu'accomplissent les études postcoloniales est encore à venir en France. Leur puissance d'ébranlement et de renouvellement semble en tout cas intacte.
 
Internet menace-t-il l'industrie du disque américaine ? Quels sont les autres éléments qui mettent en question l'hégémonie des grandes maisons de disques? Quels nouveaux modèles économiques sont rendus nécessaires par le développement d'Internet?
 
Le chant de la vie s’achève sur la voix d’un autre géant de la littérature, Joseph Conrad, qui déclare : « La tâche que je m’efforce d’accomplir consiste par le seul pouvoir des mots écrits, à vous faire entendre, à vous faire sentir, et avant tout, à vous faire voir » (343). Le credo artistique conradien pourrait bien s’appliquer à Claude Romano pour son parcours philosophique de l’oeuvre de Faulkner qui est un dévoilement plus qu’une simple analyse. Ce que Romano fait en effet partager c’es...
 
Dans un remarquable article injustement oublié aujourd'hui Pierre Nora écrivait en 1966 qu'en Amérique : « N'est pas grand historien celui qui établit dans leur vérité un ensemble de faits qui lui sont antérieurs, et sur lesquels il ne peut rien, par rapport à d'autres ensembles de faits déjà établis sur lesquels il ne peut rien davantage ; mais celui qui jette sur l'ensemble de l'histoire nationale le vaste filet d'une interprétation qui ne cesse d'être juste quand les faits qu'elle met en lumière ont cessé d'être vrais. » (Nora 66.) Avec tout ce que la formule peut avoir de lapidaire, d'excessif et même de simplificateur, elle n'en pose pas moins la question de la fonction de l'historien américain dont le rôle, au-delà des singularités individuelles - et elles sont nombreuses -, semble être moins de « (re)dire le passé » que de répondre, après les politiques et les théologiens à la lancinante question : « Qu'est-ce qu'un Américain ? »[1] Or, lorsque le politique est en quelque sorte donné comme accompli dès l'origine, et que seul l'économique est laissé au progrès, l'historien devient celui qui ne « parle » du passé que pour confirmer l'avenir. L'histoire cesse alors d'être heuristique pour se faire prescriptive ou « confirmative » - comme l'on parle du renouvelement des promesses du baptême et elle évalue le degré de réalisation du projet fondateur, à savoir l'avènement d'une démocratie politique. C'est peut-être pour cela que l'on a pu dire que l'Amérique n'avait pas d'idéologie mais en était une.
 
Old-time music is becoming an increasing force within mainstream country music. Ob the wake of the Coen Brothers' blockbuster O Brother, a renewed interest for traditional American music, from folk to bluegrass, is sweeping the country, attracting a younger, more feminine audience. After having mapped out the various territories and eras of classic country music, this paper explores the nostalgic and religious dimensions of the current revival and analyzes the changes it triggered in the economics of country music.
 
This critical review essay focuses on three areas that reflect the current dilemmas raised by ICTs in relation to privacy: the technical layer of network security, the content layer of misuse by third party and the social layer of intimacy boundaries. This layered typology takes into account the displacement of privacy issues from secrecy to anonymity and traceability as well as the move from a market-controlled view of privacy towards leverage by the end-users. It considers the various models for privacy regulation and self-regulation that are currently being debated in the United States. Finally, it interprets these models in the light of the US context specificity, where privacy is still considered as private property, while pressures from the end-users tend to promote a more democratic, distributed and generative option that could eventually mesh with European visions of privacy as dignity and self-empowerment.
 
The adoption in 1990 by the Financial Accounting Standards Board of a new standard (SFAS 106) on accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions triggered off significant cuts in the retiree health benefits granted by many U.S. corporations to their former employees. This paper investigates the circumstances in which this new standard was issued, and used by employers for terminating some of their earlier commitments.
 
In the wake of 9/11, there was a strong demand to find out why the intelligence community, the discreet but fundamental instrument of America's foreign policy, had failed to prevent this catastrophe. Congress responded with the creation of an investigative commission. However, parents of the September 11th victims voiced their concerns that the investigation might not be independent enough. Eventually, an independent blue-ribbon panel was organized. This article shows that next to the executive and legislative bodies America's civil society did play a part in the investigation as well as in the reform of intelligence.
 
Progressive multiculturalist movements aim to eradicate socio-economic inequality through education. Conservative groups, notably from the Christian Right, have consistently opposed multiculturalism, particularly during the "culture wars" of the 1980s and 1990s, and with renewed fervor since September 11, 2001. This paper seeks to evaluate the results of this ideological struggle by examining the image of American society presented in history textbooks published before and after 2001.
 
In the wake of 9/11, there was a strong demand to find out why the intelligence community, the discreet but fundamental instrument of America's foreign policy, had failed to prevent this catastrophe. Congress responded with the creation of an investigative commission. However parents of the September 11(th) victims voiced their concerns that the investigation might not be independent enough. Eventually, an independent blue-ribbon panel was organized. This article shows that next to the executive and legislative bodies America's civil society did play a part in the investigation as well as in the reform of intelligence.
 
This article belongs to the new field of biography as history. Far from restricting itself to the narrative account of Joel Barlow's life and works, it tries to capture the various facets of this man with all the contradictions which were inherent in his character and fate, and which he shared with his Enlightenment contemporaries. As happened with a large number of great political actors in the history of mankind, Barlow's background, as well as his rather mediocre 'genius', raises the essential question of how and why such an ordinary man achieved so singular a role in the extraordinary history of his time, to the point of finding himself right in the eye of the Napoleonic cyclone which eventually killed him.
 
This article belongs to the new field of biography as history. Far from restricting itself to the narrative account of Joel Barlow's life and works, it tries to capture the various facets of this man with all the contradictions which were inherent in his character and fate, and which he shared with his Enlightenment contemporaries. As happened with a large number of great political actors in the history of mankind, Barlow's background, as well as his rather mediocre "genius", raises the essential question of how and why such an ordinary man achieved so singular a role in the extraordinary history of his time, to the point of finding himself right in the eye of the Napoleonic cyclone which eventually killed him.
 
This article should be read as an introduction to a complete study of the critics' discourse on poetry in the first half of the nineteenth century in America. We have tried to analyse the significance of the approaches favored by America's judicial critics. The main point here developed is that critics did not try to define poetry ; they could only say what poetry was not. With examples of critical reaction to Wordsworth's and Byron's poems we show that this approach to literature is linked to a conservative vision of life and society.
 
This paper analyzes conditional or differed manumission by will in South Carolina by underscoring how it initially served as a means of controlling the enslaved population while respecting the unalienable right of slave masters to dispose of their bond property as they chose. As the question of slavery became increasingly politicized, South Carolina prohibited the private manumission of slaves, thus sacrificing the individual rights of slave owners for the benefit of public safety. However, some masters sought to assert their slaves' natural right to happiness and granted them a precarious freedom, by illegally freeing them in the hope that their freedom would one day become effective.
 
Cet article synthétise les caractéristiques formelles de 18 Happenings in 6 Parts d’Allan Kaprow afin de souligner les défauts (esthétiques, politiques, patrimoniaux) des archives pseudo-objectives des performances de 1959. L’échec de Michael Kirby à saisir les « détails mineurs » liés aux problématiques raciales et de genre est mis en lumière par contraste avec le script, le récit de Samuel Delany et la réinvention du happening par André Lepecki en 2006. Ces perspectives multiples éclairent le potentiel révolutionnaire inhérent aux détails les plus infimes des happenings de Kaprow et aux défis qu’ils posent à leur conservation.
 
Interpretations of the industrial revolution in the United States have revolved so far around technical or managerial breakthroughs combining with various « preconditions » to bring about the contemporary industrial order. But up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, economic agents in a market economy were primarily concerned with controlling that market through cartels and monopolies, and were not necessarily interested in productivity. This paper argues that the rush to increase productivity, and the accompanying technical progress, were solutions developed to answer a growing crisis of political and social institutions increasingly unable to regulate an expanding market economy.
 
The Louisiana Purchase enabled Thomas Jefferson to give new impetus to the Enlightenment dream of encyclopedic knowledge. But by sending exploration parties across the wilds of Louisiana and to the Pacific, he did not only encourage the development of science, he also staked American claims to the whole of the North American continent at a time of intense international rivalry in the area. In so doing, he was supported by most United States citizens, who felt that the westward expansion of their nation, unlike that of others, was a sign of its grandiose and exceptional destiny. The successful travels of government-sponsored explorers such as Lewis and Clark aroused and fueled their patriotism and rooted it in the wonders and wealth of North America.
 
The city of Cahokia—near St. Louis—is the hearth of the complex Indian culture of the Mississippi valley, with its different components. That is where Zebulon Pike started his journey in search of the sources of the Mississippi in 1805. Pike was neither a scientist nor a surveyor: he was a mere lieutenant. Jefferson had instructed him to show to American natives the symbol of a new hegemonic power: the flag of the United States. A close examination of his Account of a Voyage Up The Mississippi River from St. Louis to Its Source reveals an Indian universe with the various local tribes in a permanent state of war, for whom Americans are "a warlike people." The newcomers were to force Indians onto reservations, turning the Mississippi ("Father of the Waters") into a polluted area where a tradition of respect for "Mother Earth" is now lost and meaningless.
 
This article presents an author and reformer whose name was famous in the nineteenth century but who has almost fallen into oblivion. Eliza W. Farnham (1815-1864) was a pioneer in many respects: as matron of the female division of Sing Sing prison in the 1840s, she introduced bold reforms based on phrenology, she was the first woman to publish a book on California in 1856 and, more than any other writer, she gave shape to the metaphor of the Angel in the House, arguing in her 1864 work, Woman and Her Era, that woman was a divine creature placed above the male sex. Her conception of the role and nature of the female sex, deeply anchored in the theory of separate spheres that prevailed in the nineteenth century, was at once traditional and revolutionary. While adhering to the belief that woman belonged in the home, she ultimately depicted man as the mere material provider of a semi-goddess whose mission was not only to domesticate and purify the male dominated political arena but also to transfigure society and the whole world thanks to her inner spiritual powers. This article, which focuses on the multifaceted notion of public sphere and on its treatment in Farnham's actions and works, seeks to highlight the complex and porous boundaries between public and private / internal and external that undermine, reassert and revisit the theory of separate spheres in order to promote a form of "apocalyptic feminism" (Helsinger).
 
In his last short story, «Martha Gardner; or Moral Reaction,» William Austin (1778-1841) produced an insightful interpretation of his heroine's dream which retrospectively seems to anticipate the psychoanalytical theory of the formation of oneiric fantasies. A Freudian analysis confirms that the Bostonian writer cleverly succeeded in mixing in his tale the requirements of basic Unitarian propaganda - much in fashion in early nineteenth-century Boston - with a subtle psychologically-oriented plot.
 
Top-cited authors
Guillaume Marche
  • Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne - Université Paris 12
Sandrine Baudry
  • University of Strasbourg
Donna Kesselman
  • Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne - Université Paris 12
Pierre Guerlain
  • Université Paris Nanterre
Divina Frau-Meigs
  • Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3