Saturday, October 3, 2015
October 3-4, 2015: AMST in 2015
[This past weekend, we held the fifth annual New England American Studies Association (NEASA) Colloquium. So this week I’ve shared some responses to each of the five colloquia to date, leading up to this special weekend post on AmericanStudies in 2015!]
Three examples of the best of AmericanStudies in our 21st century moment.
1) ‘Merica Magazine: Founded by two talented grad students, Ed Simon and Wade Linebaugh, ‘Merica’s AmericanStudies significance is best represented by its truly kick-ass mission statement about patriotisms. Or maybe by the incredible breadth of its list of suggested topics and questions. Or by the names for the magazine’s categories—“Mudville” for sports is probably my favorite, but they’re all great. Indeed, Merica’s Americanness is large and contains multitudes, and they’re all very 21st century AmericanStudies to be sure.
2) The Americanist Independent: Brainchild of historian Keith Harris, the Independent is not unlike ‘Merica, but I would call the latter more of an online magazine (featuring shorter, online writing like the posts on this blog) and the Independent more of a scholarly journal (featuring longer, academic essays). Yet as such, the Independent truly represents 21st century AmericanStudies scholarship—because it’s open access, a vital difference from virtually all other serious Americanist journals; and because it’s far more diverse in its content and disciplinary reach than most traditional journals. The future of scholarship looks like this!
3) Drunk History: I’m far from an expert on YouTube channels or vloggers, and I’m sure there are others that could be highlighted in this space and would be equally deserving. But I do know Drunk History, and I’d call it a pitch-perfect example of using a site and medium like this to explore American history, culture, and identity. For more than 8 years now, these YouTube videos have embodied a new form of AmericanStudying, one with the potential to reach and educate (in its own way, but educate nonetheless) countless audience members (the original DH video linked above has nearly 7 million views). Like it or not (and I mostly do), this is a huge part of what AmericanStudies looks like and is is in 2015.
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? AMST resources, scholarship, or ideas you’d share?