My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27-28, 2012: Crowd-Sourcing American Adversity

[This AmericanStudier is going through a very, very tough time; at times like this, AmericanStudies becomes something different for me: a source of inspiration, an opportunity to remember some of the moments in which Americans have faced great adversity and responded with great power. In this week’s series I have highlighted a handful of such moments; this crowd-sourced post is drawn from responses to them and other ideas from fellow AmericanStudiers.]
Jeff Renye highlights the very complex case of Lance Armstrong, which represents at one and the same time (to my mind) a genuine triumph over adversity and a fraudulent version of same. Fellow AmericanStudier Matt Goguen is considering writing an analytical piece for the site on Armstrong, so stay tuned for that. But I’ll ask you all as well—what do you think about Armstrong and these questions?
Since that was it for the crowd-sourced responses this week, I wanted to frame one more question to which I’d love to hear your responses, readers and fellow AmericanStudiers: which books, figures, stories, histories, do you turn to when you’re experiencing your own adversity? Who or what inspires you? Why?
Next series next week,
PS. So what do you think?
10/27 Memory Day nominees: A tie between two unique, significant, and hugely talented 20th century American authors, Sylvia Plath and Maxine Hong Kingston.
10/28 Memory Day nominee: Jonas Salk!


  1. In the spirit of crowd-sourcing, check out this new blog post from Rick Waters:

  2. Irene Martyniuk writes:

    "I turn to two works in times of need. One is Michael Ondaatje's "The Time Around Scars," a short heart-breaking poem. Ondaatje perfectly captures the oddity of always seeing the physical mark on the body of failed love.

    The real framework of my existence, though, is Eliot's "Prufrock.". Sometimes I simply read it aloud because the beauty of the words and the rhythm give me happiness. As a poem, it is brilliant. Everytime I read it, I find something new and powerful. I like hearing others reading it as well. One of my favorites to teach. And Eliot. So talented, troubled, troubling, and complicated. To have only written this poem would be a lifetime. But he also wrote so much more, and edited, and mentored so many others (for better or worse). Anyway, the poem haunts me in all the right ways."