MyAmericanFuture

MyAmericanFuture
MyAmericanFuture

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17-18, 2014: Summer 2014 Preview

[It’s exam week, the final act of the Spring 2014 semester! So in this week’s series, I’ve recapped some of the best of my semester’s courses and conversations, leading up to this weekend post on my summer plans. One more chance to add your semester recaps, summer plans, or whatever else you want to share in comments!]
On one summer plan with which I need your help.
I’ve got a lot of big plans for the summer: swimming pool visits with the boys; beach visits with the boys; museum and historic site visits with the boys; and, well, I’m sure you get the idea. I also have my annual summertime hopes for all that pleasure reading I don’t get to do during the academic year, and will share some of the books on that beach reading list (and hopefully get some of your own beach reading recommendations) as part of that annual series in a few weeks. But as always, I’ll also be continuing to pursue various parts of my public scholarly work, including this blog of course but also my next writing project, which will hopefully entail both a book and a website. And for that project, I could use some input from you all.
The project will be entitled The Hall of American Inspiration, and I’ve already created a first, trial version of the website that will accompany the book version here. The main premise is two-part: that one important reason to better remember our histories is that we can find in them stories of inspiring lives and identities; and that many of the most inspiring such stories came about in the context of, and even in response to, particularly dark or difficult historical events and issues. I’ve written in this space about many of the figures I hope to include in the book and site, from Ida B. Wells and Ely Parker to Yung Wing, Jane Addams, and the figure with whose page I hope to start the site, W.E.B. Du Bois. I plan to use my written text and multimedia resources to highlight both the historical contexts and the lives of these impressive, inspiring individuals.
But if this is going to be a legitimate Hall, it needs nominees and inductees provided by more voices than just my own. I’ve become a very big fan of crowd-sourcing through all the times I’ve done it in this space, and think that’ll be a crucial way for me to build up a broader list of figures for the Hall. And I don’t just mean public or historical ones, although any and all of those will be welcome—I’m very interested in more personal, familial, local inspiring figures and lives as well. So as I move into this summer’s more in-depth work on the Hall, I’d love to hear your nominees—feel free to share in comments or to email them to me, and add your voice and ideas to this work in progress, please!
Next series starts Monday,
Ben
PS. How was your spring semester? Plans for the summer you want to share?

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