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Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30, 2013: Fall Forward: Three Years!

[As part of my end of spring semester series, I blogged about my upcoming fall courses. But there are lots of other things going on this fall, so in this week’s series I’ll highlight a handful of other upcoming events and some of their meanings. Please share some of what your autumns will include!]
Three memories on the occasion of my blog’s upcoming third anniversary.
On November 6th, AmericanStudies will finally leave behind the Terrible Twos and turn three. It’s a big and happy occasion, and yes, I’ll be expecting cake. Or presents. Well, and/or presents. In the meantime, here are three of my strongest memories from the first three years:
1)      The Rizolis Weigh In: If I had to identify one moment when I began to recognize that I was reaching broader audiences than, y’know, my parents (Hi guys! Thanks for reading!), it was in late June 2011. That was when my repeat post on the histories of legal and illegal immigration (linked above) got a comment from Joe Rizoli, one of Framingham’s famous Rizoli brothers (anti-immigration activists and an SPLC-designated hate group). You can’t be a public scholar if you’re not willing to debate all perspectives, including those that couldn’t be more opposed to your own (in every sense), and since June 2011 I’ve always been ready for that possibility.
2)      An Editor’s Pick: For the blog’s first two years, I posted a mirror verson on’s Open Salon blogging platform; I didn’t do a good enough job connecting to other bloggers there, and the subsequent lack of response, coupled with the site’s spam and slowness issues, finally drove me away late last year. But my time at Salon did yield one really great memory: my Memorial Day post on “Remembering Pat Tillman” (linked above) was chosen as an Editor’s Pick, and sat atop the Open Salon front page for a day. I got a ton of views and comments, and really felt part of the community and conversation there.
3)      Reader Response: I look (somewhat obsessively, I can’t lie) at the blog’s statistics, so I can tell that it’s getting views. But in the absence of comments—remember, I’d love for you to say hi and what brings you here in the comments!—it can be hard sometimes to feel that I’m really getting read. Which is why it was both surprising and incredibly inspiring when, at both January’s MLA conference and March’s NeMLA one, folks I didn’t know read my name tag and told me that they were readers of my blog. Pretty amazing 21st century moments, those, and more than enough to keep me going into year four.
August recap this weekend,
PS. You know what to do!

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