On what I set out to do, what I’m doing, and what I really—really really—need from you.
As I type these words, the Word document that includes almost all of my 801 posts to date has just spilled over onto the 1040th single-spaced page; that’s just under 526,000 words, if you’re keeping count (which obviously I am). I feel, genuinely, a complex mixture of pride and horror at those statistics, those crystal clear illustrations of how much time and effort and me has gone into this here endeavor. But in any case, I’m obviously not stopping, and so here are three further thoughts about AmericanStudies at the two and a half year mark:
1) If I go back to my mindset in November 2010, when I created the blog, I’d say that my central motivation was to highlight aspects of American history, literature, culture, identity that we don’t remember as well as we should. Since I have a book coming out this month that makes precisely the same case for the Chinese Exclusion Act, clearly I still believe in the value of such work. Perhaps it’s inevitable that any nation or culture remembers only a tiny percentage of all that it has been and included—but perhaps not, and in any case we can still make the case for those figures, texts, moments, stories, histories we should better remember.
2) As the years and posts have passed, I’ve also become more aware of—or perhaps more honest about—another motivation, which I’d call a public scholarly one: to add my voice to our national conversations, and so (ideally) to influence contemporary debates and histories in at least a small way. What I’ve come to realize is that Americans will get their history, their sense of our community and identity, from somewhere—and that right now, since so many of us AmericanStudies scholars don’t add our voices to those conversations, they tend to get them from places like Beck University. Which, no. We might not be able to take Beck U out of the equation, but we can at least add lots of other variables to the mix, y’know?
3) So some combination of those two central goals, among others, is where I am with the blog. I’m very excited to say that the blog gets an average of about 125 views a day, but there’s one thing I really—really really—need from you, readers and fellow AmericanStudiers: a bit more of a sense of who you are and what brings you here! I’ve worked for a while to come up with a Guest Book function, and haven’t yet figured that out; but I would love if you could treat the comments as a space where you can say hello without feeling as if you have to contribute some ground-breaking analysis or idea (although they’re always welcome). So if you would, introduce yourself—anonymously or otherwise—and let me know what brings you here and how I can move the blog forward in ways that will work for you. Thanks!
Crowd-sourced blogroll this weekend,
PS. So two requests: share any blogs (including your own) for that weekend post; and say hi in comments, please!
I visit to get a different perspective on U.S. society. I mainly write about politics on my blog (jacksonianamerica.com), but I like the popular culture aspects of American studies.ReplyDelete