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Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017: 7 Years of Scholarly Blogging: Matthew Teutsch

[This coming weekend will mark this blog’s 7-year anniversary (my November 5th debut post on Du Bois has unfortunately vanished). In honor of that milestone, I wanted to spend the week highlighting some of the many wonderful academic and scholarly bloggers to whom this work has happily connected me. Leading up to a few reflections on my work, past and future, in this space!]
Three ways one of my more recent Guest Posters and one of the most talented and prolific digital AmericanStudiers exemplifies scholarly bloggers and public scholarly voices.
1)      Through Something We Share: Over the last few months, I have had the chance to work directly with Matthew on #NoConfederateSyllabus, a crowd-sourced document providing texts and contexts for the evolving controversy over HBO’s planned show Confederate. The document was entirely Matthew’s idea, and while I’m proud of the work I’ve done to help create and develop it (and excited about all that others have contributed to it as well—add your ideas, please!), I see it as first and foremost a reflection of his own commitment to African American, Southern, ethnic American, and shared American histories, literatures, popular cultures, and conversations. As his blog consistently reflects, he’s also committed to finding ways to share and teach all those topics, both in classrooms and in digital and civic conversations, and #NoConfederateSyllabus reflects those commitments as well. I’m honored to be connected to it and Matthew’s work through it.
2)      Through What He Does: This second item could include many different impressive sub-topics, from Matthew’s teaching and invited lectures to his work with the Ernest J. Gaines Center and his publications (such as a great forthcoming collection on Frank Yerby). But Matthew complements and extends all of those through his exemplary public scholarly blogging, as illustrated most impressively through his work as a contributor to the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) blog Black Perspectives. This sample, April 2017 post on race and racism in comics embodies Matthew’s ability to combine specific pop culture analysis, historical and cultural frames, multi-layered literary and cultural contexts for those topics, and an engaging voice that clearly parallels his work teaching such subjects as well. All those factors make him one of the best public scholarly bloggers and voices I’ve encountered, and to my mind in 2017 America there are few roles that are more important, inside and outside the academy, than that one.
3)      Through What He Will Do: That public scholarly success certainly illustrates one striking facet of the promising career of which Matthew’s just at the start, as do many of these other specific achievements and roles. But I’m thinking here in particular about the combination of all of them, and what that combination reflects about Matthew’s potential as a colleague and member of any department, program, and institution. I’ve been on lots of search committees over the years, and more than anything else that’s what I look for, that combination of factors which can indicate someone’s potential as a colleague, a contributor to all that we do, not only immediately but for many years to come. Working with Matthew on the syllabus has only reinforced that sense of him as an ideal colleague, and I’m very excited to see what’s next in this exemplarly public scholarly, AmericanStudying career.
Next scholarly blogger tomorrow,
PS. Bloggers, scholarly or otherwise, you’d highlight?

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