Friday, January 11, 2008

European Journal of American Studies (Online)

This is great news. We love open-access! Here's the letter that was passed on through DAAS.

The second issue of EJAS for 2007 is now fully on line, having recently been complemented by two new articles. Please accept my apologies for the slight delay in publication, due to server trouble. Also, do spread the word in your associations, telling their members to read EJAS , write in it and spread the news of its existence. May I remind you that a special issue has been advertised for 2008 and that two accretive issues are planned for the same year ?

Both issues for 2007 are, it seems to me, quite varied and interesting. The Journal is now welcoming submissions for 2008. To the members of the Editorial Committee who worked hard toward these results, my grateful thanks. The Committee will meet in Oslo to iron out crinkles and make plans for the future.

A very good year to all.

Marc Chénetier

This the first article listed;

Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water:
Politics, Perceptions and the Pursuit of History in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown
by Ian S. Scott

Being that I had just finished (re)watching Chinatown I was immediately drawn to it. I'll be checking it out again from the library after reading this fascinating piece. What I found most interesting was Scott's analysis of how this film and others in its tradition present the city spatially. Despite the broad and wide-open spaces, Scott notes that the LA cityscapes find a way to close in around the characters, creating claustrophobic anxiety. Michael Mann's Heat immediately comes to mind which Scott also examines in this article.
It is these visual pretensions of a city at once constructing and deconstructing its image, much copied in recent Hollywood accounts of Los Angeles, that not only give clues to its contemporary cinematic relevance but which are also an important link to the history played out in Chinatown and in the city’s later urban development.As Neil Campbell points out in his work on the “new west,” Polanski and Towne, like Chandler before them, recognized that cities were the lifeblood of the west and operated in binary aversion to the space around them.[emphasis mine]

Contemporary Californian historian Kevin Starr has commented that McWilliams had an ambivalent, divided image of the state. Like Jake Gittes and the fictional companions that follow him, he was “both mesmerized and appalled by the demotic vigor of the Southland, its confusing profusion of people and half-baked ideas” (Starr 19). Gittes is a disciple of such views and films like Blade Runner, To Live and Die in L.A., Heat and Collateral, as well as Joel Schumacher’s Falling Down (Warner Bros; US, 1992), Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon (20th Century Fox; US, 1990) and John Singleton’s Boyz ‘n the Hood (New Deal; US, 1991). All cinematically reinforce a post-structuralist vision of characters in each movie that resent the intrusion of this metropolitan force upon their lives but who are powerless to resist all the same [emphasis mine]. Starr sums up the dilemma for which Chinatown the movie has become shorthand identification. “Here, after all,” he says, “was an overnight society in search of its history, which it would both discover and manufacture” (Starr 19).