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Assistant Professor of American Studies Jennifer Nash authored The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography. Nash rewrites the theory of representation for black feminism examining how racial fictions can create a space of agency and pleasure for female subjects through the reading of hardcore pornographic films from the 1970s and 1980s. Drawing on feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, and media studies, Nash creates a new black feminist interpretative practice that is attentive to the messy contradictions at the heart of black pleasures.
Jamie Cohen-Cole, Assistant Professor of American Studies, authored The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature. Inspired by the pedagogical approach of active learning, Cohen-Cole chronicles the development of a rational, creative, and autonomous self and demonstrates how the self became a defining feature of Cold War culture. Cohen-Cole presents an explanation of how policy makers and social critics used the idea of open-minded human nature to advance centrist politics from the period 1945 to 1965. This reshaped intellectual culture and instigated nationwide educational reform that promoted more open thinking. In the late 1960s, feminists and the New Left repurposed the open mind as a left-wing political tool. This change was met with opposition in the 1970s and gave energy to a new neoconservative right wing.