This collection focuses on conceptions of the unfamiliar from the viewpoint of mainstream American history: aliens, immigrants, ethnic groups, and previously unencountered ideas and ideologies in Trumpian America. The book suggests bringing historical thinking back to the center of American Studies, given that it has been recently challenged by the influential memory studies boom. As much as identity-building appears to be the central concern for much of the current practice in American history writing, it is worth keeping in mind that historical truth may not always directly contribute to one's identity-building. The researcher’s constant quest for truth does not equate to already possessing it. History changes all the time, because it consists of our constant reinterpretation of the past. It is only the past that does not change. This collection aims at keeping these two apart, while scrutinizing a variety of contested topics in American history, from xenophobic attitudes toward eighteenth-century university professors, Apache masculinity, Ku Klux Klan, Tom Waits's lyrics, and the politics of the Trump era.

chapter |7 pages


part I|74 pages

Facing and Adapting to an Unfamiliar America

chapter 1|23 pages

“Hoist That Rag”

Tom Waits, the Uncanny, and the Old, Weird America

chapter 2|12 pages

“Damn the European Professors”

Higher Education and Xenophobia in Jefferson’s Virginia

chapter 3|19 pages

“Brave Men to Brave Men”

Experiencing Honor and Masculinities on a Settler Colonial Borderland

part II|77 pages

Conservatives and Liberals in the Unfamiliar Trumpian America

chapter 5|16 pages

Defending the Unreached and Unknown

American Evangelical Advocacy for International Religious Freedom

chapter 6|12 pages

Elite Unfamiliarity and Popular Recognition

Texas Tea Party Republicans’ Embrace of Donald Trump in 2016

chapter 7|20 pages

Trump and the Christian Right

The Public Theology behind the Mutual Attraction

chapter 8|12 pages

Voting against the Unfamiliar

The Rural-Urban Divide in US Elections

chapter 9|15 pages

It Can’t Happen Here

The Struggle against Tyranny and the Trouble with Liberalism

part III|62 pages

African-American History and the Present