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Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 18, 2016: Birthday Bests: 2013-2014

[On August 15th, this AmericanStudier enters the last year of his 30s. So this week I’ll be sharing posts of birthday favorites for each of the blog’s prior years, leading up to a new birthday best list for 2015-2016. You couldn’t give me a better present than to say hi and tell me a bit about what brings you to the blog, what you’ve found or enjoyed here, your own AmericanStudies thoughts, or anything else!]
37 favorites from the 2013-2014 year on the blog!
1)      August 23: Still Studying: Known Unknowns: A series on things I’m still learning concludes with a post on three recent takeaways from that 21st century resource, Twitter.
2)      August 30: Fall Forward: Three Years: In honor of the blog’s upcoming third anniversary, three of my favorite memories from those first three years.
3)      September 13: Newport Stories: To Preserve or Not to Preserve: A series on stories and histories surrounding The Breakers wonders whether and how we should preserve such historic homes.
4)      September 17: Gloucester Stories: The Sense of the Past: As part of a series on the Massachusetts fishing town, why it’s so important to better remember that community.
5)      September 25: Justice Is Not Color Blind: Duke: The most complex post in my series on race and justice in America, on expectations, realities, and the role of public scholars.
6)      October 14: John Sayles’ America: Secaucus and the 60s: A series AmericanStudying my favorite filmmaker starts with the movie that echoes but also challenges our narratives of a turbulent decade.
7)      October 21: Book Talk Thoughts: MOCA: With my year of book talks underway, a post on the inspiringly pitch-perfect New York museum that helped inaugurate those talks.
8)      October 28: Symbolic Scares: The Wendigo: A Halloween series starts with the supernatural legend that offers cultural and cross-cultural commentaries.
9)      November 7: Berkshire Stories: The Housatonic: Three complex and compelling sides to a New England river, part of a series on histories from this beautiful Western Mass. Region.
10)   November 12: Veteran’s Week: Band of Brothers: As part of a Veteran’s Day series, nostalgia and nuance in one of our best recent depictions of war.
11)   November 19: Times Like These: 1935: The debates over Social Security and how they do and don’t echo our own divided moment.
12)   November 29: Giving Thanks: Future AmericanStudiers: A Thanksgiving series concludes with an inspiring moment where past and future were in conversation.
13)   December 20: Representing Slavery: 12 Years a Slave: A series on cultural images of slavery concludes with two takes on the wonderful recent film, my own…
14)   December 21-22: Representing Slavery: Joe Moser’s Guest Post: And that of my friend and colleague (and Irish film expert) Joe Moser!
15)   December 24: AmericanStudies Wishes: Reform Now!: My annual series of wishes for the AmericanStudies Elves included this post on the very American reasons why we need immigration reform.
16)   January 4-5: Ani DiFranco and Slavery: A special addition to a year-in-review series, on a couple historical contexts for a very current controversy.
17)   January 23: Civil Rights Histories: George Wallace: Why we shouldn’t judge a lifetime by its worst moments, but why we do have to focus on them nonetheless.
18)   January 27: Football Focalizes: Concussions and Hypocrisy: A Super Bowl series opens with the gap between what we know and what we do, in football as in history.
19)   February 7: House Histories: Our Own Broad Daylight: A series on the House of the Seven Gables concludes with a post on the literary and communal presences of the past.
20)   February 11: I Love Du Bois to His Daughter: My Valentine’s Day series included this tribute to an amazing letter from my American idol to his teenage daughter.
21)   February 17: YA Lit: Little House on the Prairie: What we can and can’t learn about history from young adult lit kicks off a chapter-book-inspired series.
22)   March 8-9: Crowd-sourced Non-Favorites: One of my most epic crowd-sourced posts ever rounded out a series on American things that don’t quite do it for us.
23)   March 21: Cville Stories: 21st Century Tensions: Nostalgia, fear, and the current divisions that threaten communities like Charlottesville and America.
24)   March 27: Caribbean Connections: Bob Marley: On whether it’s entirely possible for an artist to cross cultural borders, and why the crossing matters in any case.
25)   April 2: Baseball Stories: Field of Dreams and The Brothers K: My Opening Day series included this post on divisive decades and histories, and whether baseball can bring us together.
26)   April 16: Animated History: The Princess and the Frog: On race, representation, and seeing ourselves and our histories on screen.
27)   April 28: Reading New England Women: Catharine Maria Sedgwick: A series on 19th century New England women kicks off with a funny, telling story that was way ahead of its time.
28)   May 7: NeMLA Follow Ups: Roundtable on Contingent Faculty: Three meaningful ways we can move forward with a crucial issue.
29)   May 12: Spring 2014 Recaps: 21st Century Writing: A semester recap series starts with three wonderful student papers from my Writing II course.
30)   May 22: AmericanStudying Harvard Movies: Love Story: On the enduring appeal of fantasies, romantic and communal, and what it means to share them with future generations.
31)   June 14-15: War Stories: Board Games: A D-Day series concludes with a special post on three board games from which I learned a good deal about histories of war.
32)   June 17: AmericanStudying Summer Jams: Summertime Blues: The summer song that gave multi-layered voice to the experience of youth.
33)   June 24: AmericanStudier Camp: Hello Muddah: As part of a summer camp series, the novelty song with an extended, very American afterlife.
34)   July 14: American Beaches: Revere Beach: A beach series kicks off with three telling stages of one of our most historic beaches.
35)   July 22: American Autobiographers: Olaudah Equiano: The controversial personal narrative that should be required reading whatever its genre.
36)   August 1: Uncles and Aunts: Uncle Elephant: A series inspired by my sister’s birthday concludes with the children’s book that’s as sad and as joyous as life itself.
37)   August 5: Virginia Voices: Thomas Nelson Page: For my latest return to VA, I highlighted interesting Virginia authors, including the question of whether and why we should read this once-popular writer at all.
Next list tomorrow,
PS. You know what to do!

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