Andrew Jackson, Donald Trump, and the populist reshaping of reference

‘Jackson was an American hero, first as a brilliant general … and later as the seventh President of the United States, when he fought to defend the forgotten men and women from the arrogant elite of his day, does it sound familiar?’ – President Donald J. Trump, Weekly Address 18/03/2017 Since Donald Trump announced he was …

America and the ‘Asian Century’

By almost any measure, the United States remains the globe’s pre-eminent economic and military power. Yet, in the wake of a bitter and tumultuous presidential election, America stands deeply divided. Hazy campaign pledges to ‘Make America Great Again’ have collided with the reality of a new administration dogged by controversy, mired in conspiracism, and struggling …

Celebrating 100 years of Russian and Slavonic Studies at Nottingham

The Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at The University of Nottingham celebrated its centenary in 2015-6, and over the past year, together with my fellow curator Benjamin Taylor and members of the University’s Web Team, I have been responsible for the creation of an online exhibition marking this milestone, which showcases some of the …

Interview with Rebecca Jeffery, former American and Canadian Studies student and BBC Apprentice candidate

What are you doing currently and what made you decide on your career pathway? When I graduated in American and Canadian Studies from Nottingham University in 2006 I wasn’t entirely sure where to go next – I knew that I wanted to work in business… but I didn’t know what to focus on! I managed …

Britain’s “Tippex” Spies

Britain’s intelligence services have a diversity problem. That was the stark message delivered in a recent interview by Robert Hannigan, the Director of GCHQ, the UK intelligence agency responsible for intercepting and analysing electronic communications. In GCHQ’s case, less than 3% of its workforce has an ethnic minority background. To make Britain’s intelligence services truly …

Reflections on Fidel Castro’s death

Since January 1959, Cuba has generally been somewhat ill-served by the outside media, being so often the object of preconceptions, half-truths and superficiality. And never more so than in the media’s responses to Fidel Castro’s death (25 November 2016), responses which – ironically –  were often stuck in the very ‘time-warp’ which, they repeatedly told …

Decolonization, Then and Now: Contextualising a Research Agenda in the Philippines

“You’ve come at the right time.” These were the words of Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez (professor of economics at the University of the Philippines – Manila) upon meeting me at his office in the heart of Ermita. I’d heard this a lot since arriving in Manila, but it wasn’t until I’d chatted with a number of …

The End of the World as We Know it? US Foreign Policy under President Trump

Donald Trump’s successful bid for the White House was marked out by a call to put ‘America First.’ In many quarters, Trump’s sound bite was interpreted as harking back to an isolationist mantra that had gained popular currency within the United States in the years leading up to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December …

Sail On, L. Cohen

I was thinking of Leonard Cohen on the night of November 8th, aka Election Day in the US. His song “Democracy,” from his 1992 album The Future, was playing on a loop in my head. I had just finished high school in the summer of 1993 when I saw Cohen in concert, the very last …

The 2016 Election: A Seismic Shift to the Right

The stunning upset victory of Donald J. Trump over Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election signifies a seismic shift to the right in American politics. After January, when the family of Barack Obama cedes the White House to the Republican billionaire, Republicans will also control both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. It …