[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier celebrated his 45th birthday. So as I do each year, I’ve shared a series highlighting some of my favorite posts from each year on the blog, leading up to this new post with 45 favorites from the last year. And as ever, 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!]
Here they are, 45 favorite posts from my 12th year of AmericanStudying:
1) August 27: American Teens: John Hughes Films: A series inspired by my pair of high schoolers concluded with this fun way to reconsider classic 80s films.
2) September 11-12: Tayna Roth’s Guest Post on “The Real Miss America”: I’ve had a ton of great Guest Posts this year, and you’d better believe I’m gonna highlight them all, starting with this one drawn from Tanya’s excellent new book!
3) September 18-19: Domestic Terrorism: 9/11 and 1/6: I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about January 6th, 2021, including in this comparative weekend post.
4) September 24: American Modernists: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Want to read Fitzgerald beyond Gatsby? This phenomenal short story is a good place to start.
5) October 8: AmericanFires: The Great Chicago Fire: I promise I won’t use much of this space to promote my Saturday Evening Post columns, but this one lined up really well with a blog series.
6) October 15: SitcomStudying: We Love Lucy: Getting to revisit and rethink familiar subjects is one of the real perks of this blog, and I enjoyed the chance to AmericanStudy I Love Lucy.
7) October 19: Work in Progress: Lesson Plan for CT Humanities: A fun story of the long afterlife of one of my first online pieces—and now I can share the lesson plan itself!
8) November 3: Action Figures: Charles Bronson and Death Wish: In a series inspired by Bronson’s 100th birthday, it was fun to explore and challenge my preconceptions about his seminal film.
9) November 13-14: 11th Anniversary Tributes: Gotta share my tribute to what the Railton family have meant to this blog (and beyond)!
10) November 20-21: The Montgomery Bus Boycott: 21st Century Legacies & Echoes: There are lots of good reasons to learn history, but high on the list has to be what it can help us understand in our own moment.
11) November 27-28: Emily Lauer’s Guest Post on Afrofuturism in Museums: Emily is my first three-time Guest Poster, and since she keeps doing such great work, I couldn’t be happier about that!
12) December 4-5: Crowd-sourced Online Reading List: I ended a series for Project Gutenberg’s 50th birthday by sharing these recommendations from fellow OnlineAmericanStudiers.
13) December 13: Fall Semester Recaps: First Year Experience Seminar: FYE was a tough class to teach and an even tougher one to get right—but when I did, it sure felt extra meaningful and helpful.
14) December 20: Wishes for the AMST Elves: Higher Ed Funding: This whole series was fun to write as ever, but this is the most universally relevant for my week’s wishes to be sure.
15) December 27: Year in Review: The Braves: Celebrating yet also critiquing the surprising success of a favorite team—that’s the AmericanStudier way!
16) December 31: Year in Review: New Novels: I don’t get to read for pleasure too much these days, but these are books well worth finding time for.
17) January 5: 2022 Anniversaries: 1872 and Henry Wilson: I always learn a lot when I research specific years for the blog, and this discovery about Grant’s second vice president was no exception.
18) January 14: Women in Politics: Shirley Chisholm’s Campaigns: Running for president was just the tip of the iceberg of Chisholm’s impressive political and activist career.
19) January 25: American Gangsters: Capturing Capone: Any time I get to write about Tintin, I promise to share it in these series!
20) January 31: Bill MurrayStudying: Tootsie: Ditto any time I get to write about one of my favorite 80s films and how it (mostly) still holds up.
21) February 12-13: Kurtis Kendall’s Guest Post on Athlete Activism: And really really ditto when I’m sharing a Guest Post from an FSU English Studies alum!
23) February 22: Non-Favorite Myths: The Supreme Court: One of those times I really wish I had been less prescient in my analyses and predictions about our current climate.
24) March 5-6: Megan Kate Nelson’s New Book on Yellowstone: Always great when I can end a series by highlighting a wonderful new book from a friend!
25) March 11: The Pacific Theater: “I Shall Return”: Douglas MacArthur, quite the asshole but still a powerfully inspiring leader as well. Such is the AmericanStudying dance!
26) March 21: Rock and Roll Groundbreakers: The Moondog Coronation Ball: If you thought I was going to miss a chance to write “Moondog Coronation Ball” a couple more times—well, you thought wrong.
27) March 28: Stand-Up Studying: Anthony Jeselnik: Few things better than getting to analyze a cultural work you love, and finding new layers in the process.
28) April 9-10: Arbor Day Activists: One of the people most responsible for Arbor Day’s existence was Birdsey Northrop. I feel like we all need to know that.
29) April 18: Boston Marathon Studying: The First Marathon: There’s a lot of pretty fascinating stuff about the 1897 Boston Marathon—here’s just some of it.
30) April 23-24: Tiffany Chenault’s Guest Post: Boston Marathon RECAP: My friend and SSN Boston co-leader Tiffany ran her first Boston this year, and had a lot of great thoughts about the experience!
31) April 26: Ulysses Grant Studying: His Book: Dedicating a whole series to the underappreciated Grant was fun, and I learned a lot, as illustrated by this post on his wonderful memoirs.
32) May 7-8: Scholarship on Internment: I’ll never pass up a chance to re-up highlights of favorite scholarly voices and works!
33) May 14-15: Spring Semester Reflections: Adult Ed and Two Sandlots: Getting to teach adult learning classes centered around a book in progress was a new, and very rewarding, experience.
34) May 21-22: Aviation Histories: Amelia Earhart: There’s so much more to Earhart than just her most famous flights.
35) May 28-29: Sydney Kruszka’s Guest Post: Why We Should All Read Maus: I’ve been able to share three Guest Posts now from students taught by my friend Robin Field—and I’d love to share ones from y’all’s students too!
36) June 9: Judy Garland Studying: Judgment at Nuremberg: I had completely forgotten that Judy Garland was in Judgment—much less how stunningly good her performance was.
37) June 11-12: LGBTQ Icons: Garland was also an icon and inspiration to the LGBTQ community—as we the other four women I highlighted in this post.
38) June 13: Revisiting Beach Reads: Tony Hillerman: With the excellent new Hillerman adaptation Dark Winds recently out, it was fun to dip back into a childhood favorite.
39) June 25-26: Las Vegas Studying: Vegas in Song: This whole Vegas series was a blast, but I especially enjoyed the chance to write about The Killers and so many other Vegas songs.
40) July 9-10: 4th of July Contexts: Patriotism in 2022 America: Do I need to say more about why this is an all-too relevant topic?
41) July 12: Investigative Journalists: Nellie Bly: Another one where I learned so much about my subject for the day.
42) July 19: UtahStudying: National Parks: Lots in this one I enjoyed learning, but I’m sharing mostly for the unforgettable quote about Bryce Canyon and cows.
43) July 26: Christmas (Songs) in July: “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells”: You know you want to read about how I AmericanStudied those holiday classics—in July!
44) August 1: AmericanPhones: The Great Gatsby: Had a Gatsby post in my first few in this list, gotta have one in my last few as well. Rules are rules.
45) August 6-7: Hettie Williams’ Guest Post on Beyoncé’s Renaissance: Always excited when I can end a list like this with my newest Guest Post!
Annual Cville series starts Monday,
PS. You know what to do!