My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

June 2011 Recap

June 1 and June 24: Let Me Be Clear: [Later renamed] No, Your (and My) Ancestors Were Not Legal Immigrants: My most overt and blunt thoughts yet on what our national narratives about immigration history get entirely and crucially wrong.
June 2: On Speaking Out: On whether and how Southerners opposed lynching and Muslim Americans (and international Muslims) have opposed Islamic terrorism.
June 3: Born to Be Misunderstood?: An interesting article on “Born in the U.S.A.” and Vietnam gets me thinking once more about the question of audience readings and mis-readings.
June 4-5: Common Knowledge: Paul Revere, Sarah Palin, Wikipedia, and the question of communal memory and history.
June 7: Public Art: Diego Rivera, Scott Walker, and the roles and meanings of public art.
June 8: Summer in the Cities: A very hot summer day gets me thinking about four AmericanStudies connections to the season.
June 9: Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic, Sometimes: David Barton and the question of who, exactly, the “revisionist historians” really are, and where they are.
June 10: True Confessions: Sarah Plath, Mark Doty, and the power of great confessional poetry.
June 11 [Guest post 5]: Rob Vellela’s Post: The Americanliteraryblog’s host writes about his goals for his own brand of public literary scholarship and performance.
June 12: I Really Want to Know!: A disappointing public scholarly moment leads me to ask some questions about what this blog has been and can be—questions on which I’d still love to hear your thoughts!
June 13: Ebony and Ivory: Clarence Clemons’ illness leads me to remember and celebrate five inspiring interracial American friendships.
June 14 [Tribute post]: Collegiality: A tribute to the many amazing communities of colleagues with whom I’ve been fortunate to work.
June 15: For Which It Stands: Flag Day special, a repeat of my late November post on the complex histories behind the Pledge of Allegiance.
June 16: No, Love is Not All You Need: The Shirley Sherrod saga leads me to some thoughts on why the Civil Rights movement depended on a lot more than the peaceful and generous attitudes our dominant narratives often associate with it.
June 17: On the Other Hand: Following up and balancing the prior day’s post with a link to an amazing story about what love can do and mean.
June 18: Guest Post in Reverse: A link to my guest post (on Sarah Piatt’s marriage and poetry) on Rob Vellela’s americanliteraryblog.
June 19: Your Dad Did: A Father’s Day special, on five American stories that highlight sons learning complex and important truths about their fathers, their own identities, and the past.
June 20: Big Goodbye: My heartfelt tribute to Clarence Clemons.
June 21: We Need Them: The contemporary and historical needs for a “them” to balance an imagined American “us.”
June 22: Judge Not?: Our competing and often contradictory narratives of the Supreme Court, and how the current Court relates to them.
June 23: An Inspiring Redefiner: Jose Antonio Vargas, the prominent journalist and self-identified illegal immigrant working to redefine our national images of illegal immigration and American identity.
June 24: No, Your (and My) Ancestors Were Not Legal Immigrants: A repost of the June 1 post (linked up above), following up the Vargas post with my own bluntest thoughts on immigration history.
June 25-26 [Tribute post]: Just a Few More Things: The death of Peter Falk leads me to consider some of the best and most ideally American qualities of his most famous character, Lieutenant Columbo.
June 27: The Mysteries of Memory: Jonathan Lethem, Tim O’Brien, and the intertwined natures of memory and mystery.
June 28 [Tribute post]: Only Connect!: A tribute to my Mom, Ilene Railton, and the amazing connections she makes every day to some of our most desperate and important fellow Americans.
June 29: Fits the Profile: The Amadou Diallo case, racial profiling, and American history, community, and identity.
June 30 [Dream-Guest Post]: Bruce on Clarence: Bruce’s hilarious, moving, and unsurprisingly perfect eulogy for the Big Man.

May 2011 Recap

April 30-May 1 [Tribute post 10]: Professor Rachel Tudor: A tribute to a colleague who had been unjustly denied tenure for the worst reasons and is fighting back eloquently and significantly.
May 2: Exhibit A: Rambo and James Bond help remind me, on the occasion of Bin Laden’s death, of how complicated and confused the histories of American/Western and Afghan relationships really are.
May 3: Remember It, Jake: Repeat of an early December post on the AmericanStudies meanings and resonances of Chinatown.
May 4: May the Fourth Be With Us: Four things that Star Wars can still teach us about America, on the anniversary of its 1977 release.
May 5: Cinco de Cinco: A Cinco de Mayo special on five inspiring Mexican Americans.
May 6-8: The Mother of All Stories: A Mother’s Day visit from my Mom inspires a repeat of this December post on Tillie Olsen and parenting.
May 9: Planes, Trains, and Americans: Vehicular segregation, racial profiling, and American history and ideals.
May 10: End of Semester Post 1, All That We Leave Behind: The first of five end of semester inspired posts, this one on the open-endedness of any class and semester.
May 11: End Post 2, On Indoctrinations: Second in the series, this one on the genuinely ludicrous concept of liberal professors “indoctrinating” unsuspecting college students.
May 12: End Post 3, Teacher, Examine Thyself: Third in the series, on a new exam question I came up with and my continuing realization about how much I have to learn about this gig.
May 13: End Post 4, Party, School: Fourth in the series, on why I cut Fitchburg State students some serious slack when it comes to their hard-partying tendencies.
May 16: End Post 5, Keep DREAMing: Fifth and final entry in the series, on my Ethnic American Literature class and what its featured authors might help us understand about the DREAM Act.
May 17: The Other Side: Illegal immigration, Obama’s egregious deportation policy, and the need to remember the families and children most affected by such deportations.
May 18: Grading on a Curve: Eugenics, The Bell Curve, and continuing racializations of science and identity.
May 19 {Uber-Tribute Post]: An Exemplary American: A tribute to my paternal grandfather, Art Railton, who passed away today at the age of 96.
May 20 [Tribute continued]: One More Take: The very moving obituary to my grandfather in his local newspaper.
May 23: Home Lands: Historical debates and controversies over naturalization, citizenship, and “sojourner” immigrants—and contemporary debates over US-Israeli relations.
May 24: I’m on a Boat: A boat trip to my grandfather’s funeral reminds me of four very significant such trips in American culture and history.
May 25: Accept It: A revision to my uber-tribute to my grandfather, to emphasize the crucial difference between tolerance and acceptance.
May 26: The Two-Way Street: Contemporary narratives of reverse or anti-white racism, and the genuine need for national narratives and identities that can include and connect all Americans.
May 28: Pahk Your Blog in Hahvahd Yard: A visit to Boston’s Public Garden reminds me of three great moments in American literature and culture set in and around Boston landmarks.
May 29-30: Memory and Memorials: Some Memorial Day reflections on the holiday, remembering war and soldiers, and competing post-Civil War narratives.
May 31: Let’s Review: Two significant lessons I learned from writing my first published, academic book review.

April 2011 Recap

April 1: Taking Flight: Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt battle it out for the title of “Most Inspiring Flight by an American Woman.”
April 2-3 [Tribute post 9]: Three Strikes: An Opening Day tribute to three great baseball novels.
April 4: A Story You Can’t Refuse: The powerfully AmericanStudies choices and stories at the heart of The Godfather, Part II.
April 5: What If?: Alternative histories of the disputed 1876 presidential election and its aftermath.
April 6: Speaking Freely: On the Westboro Baptist Church and the more widespread anti-gay bigotry that is far too frequently disguised as “Christianity.”
April 7: For Which It Stands?: Repeat of a late November post on the complex and important histories of the Pledge of Allegiance.
April 8: Praise, Worthy: James Agee and Walker Evans’ Let Us Know Praise Famous Men and the false dichotomy between modernist and political writing in America.
April 9-10: Big Pimping: A follow up to my February 27th post on the upcoming NEASA conference, and some shameless promotion of same.
April 12: What Would Change 1, Language: The first of four posts inspired by the official release of my second book, each considering a different aspect of our national narratives that would change if we define the core of American identity as cross-cultural transformation. This one focused on arguments about “English as the national language.”
April 13: What Would Change 2, “All-American”: The second book-inspired post, this one on oft-used and little-examined phrases like “All-American.”
April 14: What Would Change 3, Mixture: The third book-inspired post, this one on images and narratives of racial and cultural mixture.
April 15: What Would Change 4, The Melting Pot: The fourth and final book-inspired post, this one on one of our most persistent national narratives.
April 16-17: Birthday Presence: My younger son’s 4th birthday leads me to blog about four complex and significant births in great works of American art.
April 18: The Hard Way: George R.R. Martin leads me to think about the easy and facile vs. the hard and genuine forms of patriotism.
April 19: Fools Rush In?: Some hard questions on what public scholars can and should do in times of prominent propaganda and lies—and how Albion Tourgée can help us answer them.
April 20: A Good Day at a Good Gig: Five consecutive events remind me of how great my job is.
April 21: Picturing War: Tim Hetherington, Matthew Brady, and the complexities of war photography and journalism.
April 22: Where in the World?: The frustrating nonsense behind and yet deeper and more significant AmericanStudies meanings of Birtherism.
April 23-24: Reasons to Believe: On atheism, America, and AmericanStudies.
April 25: The Doctor Is In (Print): Repeat of a late November post on William Carlos Williams’ medical career and writings.
April 26: Do No Harm: Medical professionals, the torture regime, and the question of whether and how Americans can remember our darkest histories.
April 27: Guest Post of Sorts: James Fallows’ pitch-perfect response to the latest developments in the Birther saga.
April 28: On Not Wincing: W.E.B. Du Bois, Barack Obama, and why critiques of affirmative action are wrong on multiple significant levels.
April 29: This Space for Rent: AmericanStudier Ben hands the keys over to NEASA President Ben so he can share a publicity message about the fall NEASA conference.

March 2011 Recap

March 1: Boo?: Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and what horror can do.
March 2: Faith: The inspiring life, identity, beliefs, and writings of Reverend Peter Gomes.
March 3: Going Green: Frederick Law Olmstead’s inspiring career and creations.
March 4: Revisiting a Thorny Problem: A repeat of November’s post on Robert Penn Warren’s worst and best literary engagements with segregation and race.
March 5-6 [Tribute post 6]: The World as a Classroom: My first trip to Chicago inspired this tribute to five cities I’ve visited from which I’ve learned a great deal.
March 7: Birthday Parting: The divisions and communities captured by the July 4th, 1876 events at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition.
March 8: Forrest Chump: Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of American history’s genuine villains.
March 9: Little Mensches: Jewish American identity and education as represented by Mary Antin, Anzia Yezierska, and my sons.
March 10: Who’s (Listening to) The Boss?: Famous and frustrating mis-readings of songs by my personal favorite AmericanStudier, Bruce Springsteen.
March 11: A Not Tricky Treaty: The Treaty of Tripoli and the clear and overwhelming evidence that the Founders intended the American separation between church and state to be real and absolute.
March 12 [Tribute post 7]: The Risk Takers: A tribute to American artists who have taken significant and inspiring risks.
March 13: Collaborators Wanted: A request for input on strategies for teaching content, for an article-in-progress; the article has come out but the ideas would still be welcome!
March 14: Medicine Women: The “woman doctor novels” of the late 19th century and questions of political and social realism and purposes in fiction.
March 15: The Personal is Political: What The Wire, Traffic, Maria Full of Grace, and the war on drugs can teach us about the intersections between people and politics.
March 16: The Whole Truth: The incredibly complicated, contradictory, and profoundly American and inspiring life of Sojourner Truth.
March 17: Lit of the Irish: A St. Patrick’s day special on five seminal books on the Irish American experience.
March 18: So It Goes?: A repeat of a January post on Slaughterhouse Five and the unavoidable horrors and atrocities of war.
March 19 [Tribute post 8]: Conference Connections: A tribute to six great friends and colleagues I have met through scholarly conferences.
March 20: No and Yes: Thoughts on the realities and even inspiring qualities of rejections in an academic career (and probably in most others too).
March 21: Engaging Histories: Gore Vidal’s American Chronicle and the unique strengths and possibilities of historical fiction (at its best).
March 22: Their AIM is True: Repeat of an early November post on the American Indian Movement, the Pine Ridge shootings, and two underrated American films.
March 23: My Brother’s Keeper?: The war in Libya, Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms,” and some unanswerable but pretty important AmericanStudies questions.
March 24: A Downside of Public Scholarship: A brief response of mine and a longer one of James Fallows’ to the horrific treatment of Professor William Cronon by the Wisconsin GOP.
March 25: Reconstituting America: The irresolvable dualities and contradictions of John Brown, and the value of remembering his revision of the Constitution.
March 26-27: Student Teachers: An orgy (in the non-sexy sense) of grading reminds me of three AmericanStudies things about which I have learned a great deal from my students.
March 28: Case by Case: Phillis Wheatley’s most striking and challenging poem, and how a literary critical perspective can strengthen an AmericanStudies analysis of it.
March 29: Why We’re Here, Still: Two political quotes remind me of the ultimate stakes in how we understand and define American identity, past, present, and future.
March 30: The Worst of Times, the Best of Times: William Cronon and the arrival of my second book lead me to consider the worst and best of our contemporary moment and public scholarship’s presence and role in it.
March 31: No Fooling: A brief and inconsequential (if not downright foolish) prelude to the next day’s post. Seriously, there’s no reason to read this one!

February 2011 Recap

February 1: Erased Riots: The end of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and the New York draft riots.
February 2: Stealing Home: A repeat of the November post on the Chinese Exclusion Act and my two favorite American histories/stories.
February 3: Ex-tremely Inspiring: Renaissance American James Weldon Johnson, and his complex and interesting novel The Autobiography of a Ex-Colored Man.
February 4: Getting Past Grief: Constance Fenimore Woolson, whose greatest and oft-anthologized short story shouldn’t blind us to her incredibly diverse and impressive body of work.
February 5 [Tribute Post 3]: Happy Campers: A tribute to my elementary school history teacher Mr. Kirby and his unique and inspiring historical summer camp.
February 6: Fit Audience, Though Few: A response to one of my recently published articles, and some thoughts on writing (at times) for relatively specialized scholarly audiences.
February 7: Border Lens: The incredibly complicated histories of the Mexican American border, and the equally complicated book (Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera) that embodies them.
February 8: The Fierce Urgency of Nowhere: On largely fictional and triumphalist 1980s wars, cinematic and actual.
February 9: Lifting the Embargo: The specific and broad, historical and contemporary, benefits of defining Cuban revolutionary and poet José Martí as a cross-cultural American.
February 10: Fanny Packs a Punch: The witty, sarcastic, biting, and yet hugely serious and meaningful writing and career of Fanny Fern.
February 11: Alternative Treatments of the Depression: Repeat of a November post on John Dos Passos, Pietro di Donato, and novels of the urban Great Depression.
February 12 [Guest Post 3]: Irene’s Nominee: Dr. Irene Martyniuk nominates Clara Barton for the Hall of American Inspiration.
February 13: Why We’re Here: Glenn Beck’s Beck University, American “historian” David Barton, and some of my most central goals for this blog and my public scholarship.
February 14: Love Lessons: A Valentine’s Day special post on the influential and inspiring books (and sons) I have loved.
February 15: Null Set: William Apess, John Calhoun, and two 1830s nullification crises.
February 16: Half Lives: Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, and engaging with the depths of American poverty.
February 17: Times Like These: Tori Amos, Lara Logan, and confronting and remembering brutal stories of rape.
February 18: Mi Casas Should Be Everybody’s Casas: A repeat of the November post on the most inspiring European explorer, Bartolome de las Casas.
February 19 [Tribute post 4]: Office, Ours: A tribute to my grad school friend and colleague Jeff Renye, and our shared first teaching experiences.
February 20: Grade-ations: On the disadvantages, benefits, and realities of grading student work.
February 21: Precedents Day: My modest proposal for how we could celebrate future President’s Days.
February 22: Coming to Be Family: In America, The Visitor, and the fictional and forced but very significant cross-cultural family relationships created by immigration.
February 23: Authentic Voices: William Styron, William Justin Harsha, Sarah Winnemucca, and the question of fictional and “authentic” representations of American voices.
February 24: Those Who Wander: John Woolman and the inspiring possibility of wandering with no fixed path or destination and a truly open mind.
February 25: War and Peace: Woodrow Wilson, A. Mitchell Palmer, and the contradictions and complexities of American foreign and domestic policy during and after World War I.
February 26 [Tribute post 5]: It Takes a Village: A tribute to seven other teachers and mentors who have been influential and inspiring in the course of my education, career, and life.
February 27: Time Sensitive: Some thoughts on my evolving plans for and work toward the fall 2011 New England ASA conference [which ended up going amazingly—see the early November follow-up posts!].
February 28: Cowboy Update: Nat Love and the myths and realities of the Western frontier.

January 2011 Recap

January 1: No Day but Today: Tony Kushner, Philadelphia, Rent, and how controversial issues enter our national conversations and popular culture.
January 2: Off the Trail: The Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Memorials, and how we remember national tragedies.
January 3: Rebel Against the Cause:  Lee, Longstreet, and the aftermath and memories of the Civil War.
January 4: Passed By: Nella Larsen’s brief but impressive literary career.
January 5: Kids on the Couch: Good Will Hunting, Ordinary People, and cinematic representations of psychoanalysis.
January 6: Workers Write: Herman Melville, The Lowell Offering, and literary work.
January 7: Merci Beaucoup: What the American Revolution and its greatest triumphs owe to the French.
January 8 [Guest Post 1]: One Hundred Thirty Words: Ilene Railton on Margaret Wise Brown and Goodnight Moon.
January 9: Words Will Never Hurt Me?: My first post in response to a current event—Gabrielle Giffords, John F. Kennedy, and extreme political rhetoric and violence.
January 10: Anarchy in the USA: Haymarket, the labor movement, and a late 19th century American revolution.
January 11: Love, Puritan Style: Revisiting the Puritans through John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity.”
January 12: Ambitious Cycle: William Faulkner, August Wilson, and ambitious literary failures.
January 13: Blue America: John Hiatt and the perils and benefits of biographical analysis.
January 14: To Hull and Back: My nomination of Jane Addams for the Hall of American Inspiration.
January 15 [Tribute Post 1]: Staying in the Room: A tribute to Professor Alan Heimert, one of my most demanding and inspiring college teachers.
January 16: Working on Hope: My first work-in-progress post, on my plans and goals for my third book.
January 17: The Real King: An MLK Day repeat of my post on remembering the real, complex, vital King.
January 18: Knick of Time: Washington Irving’s postmodern History of New York.
January 19: Love in Color: Jungle Fever, Mississippi Masala, and pop culture interracial romances.
January 20: Honorable Work: Helen Hunt Jackson’s multi-genre Native American literary activism.
January 21: Touched by an Angel: Angel Island and the untold stories and unheard voices of American history.
January 22 [Tribute Post 2]: Getting Through: A tribute to Proal Heartwell, my best and most inspiring high school teacher.
January 23: Master Class: My goals, hopes, and fears for a special authors course on Henry James I was about to start teaching.
January 24: Outside the Box: On reexamining Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s relationship with Emily Dickinson, and more importantly remembering the rest of his inspiring life.
January 25: So It Goes?: Slaughterhouse Five and the horrors at the heart of every war.
January 26: Repetition, Repetition: The value of getting through Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans.
January 27: Your Song: My nominee for a new national anthem.
January 28: Out of His Hands: Steven King, Jonathan Edwards, and authors who get unfairly pigeon-holed into a certain genre or tone.
January 29 [Guest Post 2]: White Growing Pains: Mike Parker on contemporary white America’s challenges and fears.
January 30: Accounting: On my experiences with accountability, assessment, and other contemporary narratives about higher ed.
January 31: Ghost Stories: Three interconnected American perspectives on the Ghost Dance.

December 2010 Recap

December 1: The Prof, the Bluff, and the Union: Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War’s turning point.
December 2: A Touch of Class: What Thorstein Veblen forces all AmericanStudiers to remember and analyze.
December 3: Alien Nation: How the Alien and Sedition Acts complicate both of our over-simplified narratives about the Founding Fathers.
December 4: Remember It, Jake: Chinatown as an AmericanStudies primary source.
December 5: American Dreams: Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father as an AmericanStudies primary source.
December 6: I Know It When I See It: The case for Jacob Lawrence as our greatest American painter.
December 7: Speak Now: Frederick Douglass, Chief Seattle, and two powerful American Renaissance speeches.
December 8: Bonus Babies: The complex and crucial Depression-era history of the Bonus Army.
December 9: Statue Limitations: Two distinct and equally important revisions to our dominant images of the Statue of Liberty.
December 10: A Voice from the Nadir: Ida B. Wells and the lynching epidemic.
December 11: Giving the Devil His Due: Ambrose Bierce and the value of pessimism.
December 12: The Mother of All Stories: Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” and the challenges and inspiring power of parenting in the most difficult circumstances.
December 13: The Definition of Insanity: Dorothea Dix’s pioneering and courageous work on behalf of the mentally ill.
December 14: Family Matters: The Cat in the Hat, The Opposite of Sex, You Can Count on Me, and changing 20th century images of family.
December 15: The Scorn of a Preacher Man: William Apess’ life and writing, and what a critical spiritual perspective can tell us about American history and identity.
December 16: Pointed Sister: The contemporary relevance of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie.
December 17: The Propaganda of History: The contemporary and political origins of Colonial Williamsburg.
December 18: Mixology: Edouard Glissant and the Caribbean world’s transnational connections to the United States.
December 19: What the Head Makes Cloudy: The West Wing, McCarthyism, and the difficult but important task of pushing past all of our simplifying historical narratives.
December 20: The Real King: A post on Martin Luther King that was accidentally but appropriately moved to January 17th!
December 21: What It’s Like: Rebecca Harding Davis’ Life in the Iron Mills and the crucial role of empathy in our literary and national conversations.
December 22: A Snowball’s Chance: Affliction, A Simple Plan, and the winter of our American Dreams.
December 23: The Pen and the Sword: Frederic Remington’s Cuban dispatches and the role of art in fomenting (and perhaps even causing) war.
December 24: A Human and Yet Holy Day: The role of religion in American history and narratives, and the inspiring Catholic life and work of Dorothy Day.
December 25: The Season for Misgivings: An AmericanStudier and literary critic’s take on three of our most popular but at their heart most troubling holiday tunes.
December 26: A Hard Story is Good to Find: Flannery O’Connor’s mastery of two different but equally effective types of short stories.
December 27: Is Our Children Learning?: Renaissance American John Dewey’s particularly impressive and inspiring work on behalf of early childhood and democratic education.
December 28: Early to Bed, Early to Rise, and Watch Out for Those Germans!: Why we should remember and engage with Ben Franklin’s anti-German xenophobia.
December 29: Re-viewing the Classics: Birth of a Nation, two cinematic responses to its racist depiction of American history and identity, and what it would mean to put them in conversation.
December 30: Divorced from Reality: Complicating some of our most widely shared and accepted narratives about divorce, marriage, and changes in American society.
December 31: Five for Five: On the occasion of my older son’s fifth birthday, five plans for 2011 on the blog [I’ll leave it up to you whether they’ve been successful!].

November 2010 Recap

November 6: A Terribly Singular Event (and a Terrific Novel): The 1898 Wilmington coup and massacre, and Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition.
November 7: Their AIM is True: The American Indian Movement, the Pine Ridge shootings, and two interconnected and underrated American films.
November 8: Memorial Day: The inspiring power of Saint-Gaudens’ Robert Gould Shaw Memorial.
November 9: Mi Casas Should Be Everybody’s Casas: Why Bartolome de las Casas should be the explorer we all remember and celebrate.
November 10: Sprawling, Messy, Multi-lingual, and, Yes, Great American Novels: The case for The Grandissimes and The Squatter and the Don.
November 11: A Veteran Performance: A Veteran’s Day tribute to The Best Years of Our Lives and especially to Harold Russell’s amazing work in it.
November 12: Stealing Home: Still my favorite post to date, on my favorite tragic yet inspiring, complex and crucial American stories and histories.
November 13: The Emergence of the Twain: Mark Twain’s turn to overt, contemporary social and political critique in “To the Person Sitting in Darkness.”
November 14: Declarations of Independence: Slave petitions during, and inspired by, the Revolutionary War.
November 15: Deadly Personal: Dead Man Walking, Steve Earle, and how we portray and analyze an issue like the death penalty.
November 16: Voices Worth Hearing: The case for my favorite American poet, Sarah Piatt.
November 17: Another Nominee for the Hall: My nomination of Ely Parker for the Hall of American Inspiration.
November 18: Chillingly Good: Why Ross MacDonald’s hardboiled mystery novels are way more than just genre fiction.
November 19: Alternative Treatments of the Depression: John Dos Passos, Pietro di Donato, and urban novels of the Great Depression.
November 20: Revisiting a Thorny Problem: The worst and best of Robert Penn Warren’s literary representations of segregation, race, and the South.
November 21: The Doctor Is In (Print): William Carlos Williams’ medical career and literary influences.
November 22: Very Different Pictures: Of Plimoth Plantation, Hope Leslie, and revising the histories and stories of the Pequot War.
November 23: Sayles Pitch: John Sayles’ most essential (and amazing) American films.
November 24: A Thankless Gig (That Really Shouldn’t Be): The first of three Thanksgiving posts, this one giving thanks for my colleague Ian Williams’ work with prison inmates.
November 25: A Thanksgiving Turkey: This second Thanksgiving post takes on Rush Limbaugh.
November 26: Child’s Plan: This third and final Thanksgiving post remembers Lydia Maria Child.
November 27: For Which It Stands?: The complex and significant histories of the Pledge of Allegiance.
November 28: The Heart Matters: Carlos Bulosan’s unique and powerful America is in the Heart.
November 29: Rapped Attention: Public Enemy, N.W.A., and what rap can and does add to our scholarly and national conversations.
November 30: Far From Trifling: The dramatic shifts illustrated by the Provincetown Players and Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.

December 31, 2011: Other Monthly Recaps

I have just posted the December recap, but I also wanted to direct new readers (and everybody else for whom this might be helpful!) to the other monthly recaps. Five were added throughout the year: July; August; September; October; and November. The other eight, from November 2010 to June 2011, I have just created and will post immediately following this post. Thanks for reading!

December 31, 2011: December Recap

December 1: What’s at Stake: Newt Gingrich, Niall Ferguson, and the most crucial 21st century American debate: how we define “American.”
December 2: Homogenous: Pat Buchanan, Niall Ferguson, and the related and equally significant question of how we understand historical and contemporary diversity in America. (Continued on December 5.)
December 3-4: Heidi Kim’s Guest Post: My friend and fellow AmericanStudier guest posts about her UNC class’s project on Chang and Eng Bunker.
December 5: Defining Diversity: A follow up to the December 1 and 2 posts, wherein I elaborate on some of my own central perspectives on American diversity and identity.
December 6: So What 1: The first of four posts on how our narratives of particular time periods in American history might change in response to my redefinitions of America (and in conversation with great AmericanStudies scholarship)—this one on cross-cultural relationships in the arrival and exploration era.
December 7: So What 2: The second in the series, this one on redefining the Puritans.
December 8: So What 3: The third in the series, this one on redefining the Revolution through African American, slave experiences and perspectives of it.
December 9: So What 4: The fourth in the series, a guest post of sorts on redefining the Civil War.
December 10-11: So What Now?: A follow up to the week’s series, on the question of what such redefinitions might mean for our present and future national conversations and identities.
December 12: Cross-Culture 1: It’s Not Only Rock and Roll: Starting a week of posts on redefining key pop culture moments through a cross-cultural lens, this one on the origins and early history of rock and roll.
December 13: Cross-Culture 2: A Striking Voice: On African American influences on Huck Finn.
December 14: Cross-Culture 3: A Transnational Force: On the Japanese, and other transnational, influences on and presences in Star Wars.
December 15: Cross-Culture 4: Seeing the Light: On the cross-cultural invention of the light bulb (among other crucial late 19th century innovations).
December 16: Cross-Culture 5: Not to Mention…: On five other crucially cross-cultural American moments.
December 17-18: Anglo, American: Christopher Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan, and the cross-cultural contributions and transformations of Anglo-American immigrants.
December 19: Making My List 1: Memory Days: Starting a week of AmericanStudies holiday wishes, with a wish for an AmericanStudies version of saints’ days.
December 20: Making My List 2: 30 Rocked: A wish for a series of films in which great American filmmakers reimagine key historical events, figures, and stories.
December 21: Making My List 3: Empathy, Please: A wish for empathy in our national conversations and narratives.
December 22: Making My List 4: Filter Them From Your Self: A wish for all Americans to have access to and the contexts and skills to analyze the evidence.
December 23-25: Making My List 5: One More Wish: A final AmericanStudies holiday wish for you, yours, and all of us.
December 26: Year in Review 1: Assassi-Nation: My 2011 year in AmericanStudies review starts with the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.
December 27: Year in Review 2: Nuclear Reactions: The year in AmericanStudies review continues with the Japanese nuclear meltdown.
December 28: Year in Review 3: The Ends of War: The review continues with the Bin Laden killing.
December 29: Year in Review 4: School for Scandal: The review continues with the Penn State child rape scandal.
December 30: Year in Review 5: Long-term Occupation: The review concludes with the Occupy Wall Street and subsequent Occupy movements.
More monthly recaps (for earlier in the year) coming shortly, and a 2012 teaser tomorrow,
12/31 Memory Day nominee: Aidan Railton! Seriously, I have no doubt he’ll do very memorable things in his very American life. But in the interim, we also couldn’t go wrong with Jaime Escalante, the Bolivian immigrant and high school math teacher whose inspiring work in the East Los Angeles public schools was portrayed so powerfully in the film Stand and Deliver (1988).