We rush to announce that Dr. Marta Usiekniewicz’s book Food, Consumption, and Masculinity in American Hardboiled Fiction has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan!


Food, Consumption, and Masculinity in American Hardboiled Fiction draws on three related bodies of knowledge: crime fiction criticism, masculinity studies, and the cultural analysis of food and consumption practices from a critical eating studies perspective. In particular, this book focuses on food as an analytical category in the study of tough masculinity as represented in American hardboiled fiction. Through an examination of six American novels: Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, Leigh Brackett’s No Good from a Corpse, Dorothy B. Hughes’s In a Lonely Place, Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, and Rex Stout’s Champagne for One, this book shows how these novels reflect the gradual process of redefining consumption and consumerism in America, which traditionally has been coded as feminine. Marta Usiekniewicz shows that food and eating also reflect power relations and larger social and economic structures connected to class, gender, geography, sexuality, and ability, to name just a few. (Palgrave 2023)

Food, Consumption, and Masculinity in American Hardboiled Fiction makes a highly original contribution to the literature on hard-boiled fiction and its figuration of masculinity. Focusing on the neglected area of food and consumption in this fiction, Usiekniewicz breaks new theoretical ground by analyzing the way in which hard-boiled masculinity is organized around dynamics of incorporation, excorporation, consumption, penetration, and control. She demonstrates that the fantasies of masculinity that shape this fiction are not merely about large scale social dynamics but about the way in which these dynamics play out on the level of bodily boundaries. A must read for crime fiction scholars.”

—Christopher Breu, Illinois State University


“Marta Usiekniewicz has written a book that leaves us all in her debt. Food, Consumption, and Masculinity in American Hardboiled Fiction renews and extends our understanding of the tough guys of hardboiled fiction by showing how their toughness is constituted by what and how they consume. Combining theoretical sophistication with clear and incisive readings of a wide range of texts, this book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in crime fiction, gender, and popular culture.”
—Prof. David Schmid, Department of English, University at Buffalo

Year 2023/2024

December 1: Screening & Discussion with Co-directors of ‘CURED’ documentary

November 30, 2023

The American Studies Center and the U.S. Embassy Warsaw invite you to a special private screening of the award-winning documentary CURED, which highlights a pivotal but little-known moment in LGBTQ history when activists and psychiatrists rose up to challenge a formidable institution — and won!


Changes in Dr. Gajda-Łaszewska’s office hours schedule

November 30, 2023

Dr. Gajda-Łaszewska’s office hours will be cancelled on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

American Studies Colloquium Series

November 30: Conceptual Writing in Extremis: Sonic A(na)rchives in 21st-century North American Poetry

November 30, 2023

The lecture focuses on current developments in North American conceptual writing as a poetic mode invested in archival research. The common denominator of the archives that the poets selected for this study foreground are the forms of present-day extremity.

American Studies Colloquium Series

November 16: New Forms/Known Rivers

November 16, 2023

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought.

Year 2023/2024

November 9: Scared Sick: Medicine and the Gothic Tradition

November 9, 2023

Join Weird Research Group for the second meeting of Weird Medicine Series! This talk will be grounded in the foundational Romantic period and will explain ways in which Gothic works reflected some of the most controversial medical pursuits, playing out their possibilities and dangers.