Friday, August 19, 2016
August 19, 2016: Birthday Bests: 2014-2015
[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier enters the last year of his 30s. So this week I’ll be sharing posts of birthday favorites for each of the blog’s prior years, leading up to a new birthday best list for 2015-2016. You couldn’t give me a better present than to say hi and tell me a bit about what brings you to the blog, what you’ve found or enjoyed here, your own AmericanStudies thoughts, or anything else!]
In honor of my 38th birthday, 38 favorite posts from 2014-2015 on the blog!
1) August 18: Films for the Dog Days: Dog Day Afternoon: A part of a sweltering summer series, I analyzed the gritty crime drama that’s sneakily subversive.
2) September 5: Fall Forward: A New Teaching Challenge: My Fall 2014 semester included a brand new course on a brand new (to me) topic, and that was a very good thing.
3) September 11: More Cville Stories: Fry’s Spring: Four exemplary stages to the Virginia hotspot where I spent many a summer’s day.
4) September 15: Country Music and Society: Gender and Identity: On Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and gender-bending in one of our most traditional cultural genres.
5) September 23: Women and War: Rosie the Riveter: Two ways to complicate and enrich our collective memories of an enduring American icon.
6) October 8: AmericanStudying Appalachia: Murfree’s Mountains: An AppalachianStudying series gave me a chance to write about one of our most complex and talented authors.
7) October 25-26: De Lange Follow Ups: My Fellow Tweeters: My whole experience as a Social Media Fellow at the De Lange Conference was amazing, and I’d love for you to check out the weeklong series of follow ups. But I can’t not focus on my amazing fellow Fellows!
8) October 29: AmericanSpooking: The Birds and Psycho: For my annual Halloween series, I considered defamiliarization, horror, and prejudice.
9) November 7: Exemplary Elections: 1994: My election week series ended with this highly influential recent election—and with this Lawyers, Guns, and Money post discussing and greatly amplifying my own thoughts.
10) November 14: Veterans Days: Miyoko Hikiji: The veteran and book that help broaden and enrich our concept of American veterans—and now she’s running for the Iowa State Senate!
11) November 28: 21st Century Thanks: E-Colleagues: A Thanksgiving series concludes with five colleagues I haven’t had the chance to meet in person, yet!
12) December 3: AmericanWinters: The Blizzard of 78: Two AmericanStudies contexts for an epic winter storm (which little did I know in December we’d end up surpassing in terms of total Boston snowfall in one winter!).
13) December 13-14: Andrea Grenadier’s Guest Post on Charles Ives: Another great year for Guest Posts, including this gem from Andrea on a difficult and important composer.
14) December 24: AmericanWishing: Chesnutt’s “Wife”: Charles Dickens, one of my favorite American short stories, and holiday introspection were on my wish list this year.
15) December 31: End of Year Stories: The Immigration Debate: Two online pieces of mine that have contributed to an ongoing political and American debate.
16) January 6: Waltham Histories: The Waverly Trail: Three profoundly American moments in the history of a beautiful natural wonder.
17) January 20: MLK Stories: Selma: What’s important and inspiring, and what’s a bit more problematic, about the wonderful recent film.
18) January 26: AmericanStudying Sports Movies: Bad News Bears and Boys: A Super Bowl series starts with our obsession with lovable losers.
19) February 2: American Conspiracy Theories: Roswell: Historical and cultural contexts for one of our craziest American conspiracy theories.
20) February 20: American Studying Non-Favorites: Low Five: Five historical figures with whom I have a bone—or a whole skeleton—to pick!
21) February 26: Western Mass. Histories: The Bridge of Flowers: Three evocative stages of a unique Massachusetts landmark.
22) March 2: Forgotten Wars: The Second Barbary War: The anniversary of a forgotten Early Republic conflict inspired this post and series on wars we should better remember.
23) March 14-15: All That Crowd-sourced Jazz: Crowd-sourcing at its finest, with fellow AmericanStudiers adding wonderful nominations to my week’s series on jazz.
24) March 24: American Epidemics: The Measles: An all-too-timely post, on three stages in the history of a frustratingly persistent disease.
25) April 2: April Fools: Minstrel Shows: What we do with comic art that’s just not funny any more.
26) April 6: Baseball Lives: Hank Greenberg: Why we should remember one of our greatest Jewish American athletes—and an inspiring icon.
27) April 18-19: Crowd-sourced Reading List: Another great crowd-sourced post, this one on nominations for an AmericanStudies reading list.
28) April 27: Communist Culture: “The Palace-Burner”: What one of my favorite American poems can teach us about difference, empathy, and identity.
29) May 11: Semester Conclusions: I Can’t Breathe: Remembering one of my most radical classroom moments, and why it wasn’t.
30) May 19: BlockbusterStudying II: Ghostbusters: Science, the supernatural, and Weird Tales in one of our funnier and more original summer blockbusters.
31) May 26: Decoration Day Histories: Frederick Douglass: As part of a series on Memorial Day’s origins, I highlighted Douglass’s amazing 1871 Decoration Day speech.
32) June 2: Mount Auburn Connections: Blanche Linden: Three inspiring sides to a hugely influential AmericanStudier, scholar, and teacher.
33) June 12: North Carolina Stories: Moral Mondays: Two historical parallels for the crucial contemporary protests and activism.
34) June 19: AmericanStudies Beach Reads: A Tragic, Compelling Life: Why we should get serious at the beach, and the perfect book to help us do so.
35) June 26: Gordon Parks and America: Portrait Photos and the Past: A series inspired by a wonderful (and ongoing) MFA exhibit concludes with some thoughts on what portraits can’t teach us about the past, and what they can.
36) July 1: The 4th in Focus: Fireworks: The history, symbolism, and limitations of an American holiday tradition.
37) July 11-12: Samuel Southworth’s Guest Post: In Honor of the 150th Anniversary of the US Secret Service: In my most recent Guest Post, Sam considers the organization’s history, role, and importance, with a fascinating foonote in comments to boot.
38) July 20: Billboard #1s: “I’ll Never Smile Again”: A series on Billboard hits starts with what’s hugely different about 1940’s #1 hit, and what’s not so different at all.
New list this weekend,
PS. You know what to do!