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Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22, 2016: 21st Century Patriots: Online Public Scholarship

[For this year’s series on genuine American patriots, I wanted to focus on contemporary figures who are doing the hard work of patriotism. If there’s a through-line to these four, in addition to the ideas I discussed in my Patriot’s Day post, it’d be Howard Zinn’s famous quote, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Please share your own patriotic nominees, dissenters or otherwise, for a crowd-sourced weekend post we can all be proud of!]
It will likely come as a surprise to no readers of this blog that I believe AmericanStudies public scholars are among those doing the hard work of patriotism. Here are four places online where you can find some of the best of that work:
1)      US Intellectual History blog: The recent post at that hyperlink, by my online friend and Guest Poster Rob Greene, embodies the best of the USIH blog: nuanced, thoughtful, deeply researched, challenging and provocative work that pushes our understandings of American community and identity on every level. There’s no better example of 21st century public scholarship as critical patriotism than USIH.
2)      Saved By History: Saved by History is the personal scholarly blog of one of the USIH community’s most consistent and interesting voices, cultural and intellectual historian L.D. Burnett. Like most of the best personal scholarly blogs (ie, the models for my own continued work in this space), Burnett’s combines scholarship and research, pedagogy and practice, personal reflections, and links and shout-outs to fellow scholars, offering us a window into the perspective and career of one exemplary public scholar.
3)      African American Intellectual History Society blog: I believe that W.E.B. Du Bois would be proud of and inspired by (and definitely want to participate in) the work being done at the AAIHS blog. Need I say any more??
4)      NPR’s Monkey See: The public radio pop culture blog likely doesn’t fit with most of our shared definitions of public scholarship—it’s more the combination of reporting and analysis we’d usually associate these days with journalistic bloggers. But to my mind, public scholarship is no longer limited in any sense to the academy (if it ever was), or to certain kinds of scholarly voices or conversations. AmericanStudies public scholarship, to me, is defined by all those doing the hard and vital work of engaging with our culture, society, history, community, and identity, and seeking to bring that work to public audiences. The more sites and voices we can include as part of that public scholarly patriotism, the broader and deeper the conversations will be.
Share other inspiring public scholars for the crowd-sourced post this weekend, please!
PS. So one more time: what do you think? Other 21st century patriots you’d nominate?

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