My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

January 8-9, 2022: 2022 Predictions

[A few years back I started January by highlighting some of the historic anniversaries we’d be commemorating in the year to come. It was a fun series, so I thought I’d do the same this year with some 2022 anniversaries. Leading up to this special post on predictions for 2022!]

I ended that January 2019 series with some predictions for the year to come, while noting that I had no earthly idea what would happen politically. That was a serious understatement, and if anything I feel even less certain about the state of our politics in early 2022. So once again I’m gonna leave that arena alone, and share three other predictions for the year ahead:

1)      Education Debates: Speaking of knowing precious little about our politics, I was not at all prepared for how much of the second half of 2021 would revolve around debates over education, and specifically history education. I addressed those debates in a couple of my Saturday Evening Post columns, as well as one section of this blog post, and of course it’s obvious where I stand on those questions. But as we near the one-year anniversary of the release of the 1776 Commission Report (on MLK Day, no less), I wanted to add just how much I believe those educational debates are already and will continue to be interconnected with debates over American patriotism. For which I’ve got a book I’m happy to talk about with students/classes, groups and communities, and all interested parties, this year as ever!

2)      “Cancellation” Controversies: I put that word in scare quotes because I mostly agree with this excellent L.D. Burnett piece: “cancel culture” isn’t a real thing, or at least isn’t at all what the dominant narratives suggest it is. At the very least, as the late 2021 Dave Chappelle situation reveals, those who are ostensibly “cancelled” generally fare quite well in the long run, often much better than they deserve (as that hyperlinked article illustrates). In any case there are going to be plenty more of these faux-controversies in 2022—it often seems like there’s a new focus for such debates every day on Twitter, for example—so the question will be whether we can turn those moments into opportunities for more meaningful and forward-looking conversations. I wish I were more optimistic about that, but at the very least I’m determined to do what I can not to feed the outrage machine.

3)      Inspiring Voices: On the other hand, I am deeply optimistic about how many inspiring American voices have emerged over the last few years, most of them unexpected (at least to this AmericanStudier). When I wrote that January 2019 post, for example, I had never heard of Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose innovative and important 1619 Project would come to dominate so much of the second half of that year (and beyond). During 2021 one of the voices who most inspired me was Kelly Therese Pollock, the podcaster whose Unsung History and Uncorked History podcasts (the latter co-hosted with Jamie L.H. Goodall) brought so many other voices and stories to my attention (and on which I was fortunate enough to guest). What voices and conversations will unexpectedly and powerfully inspire us all in 2022? I can’t predict—but I’m very excited to find out!

Next series starts Monday,


PS. What do you predict for the year to come?

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